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Finder Pt. 2

May 20, 2009 - Dave Hecei
Cover Flow view is new to the Finder and has been brought over from iTunes (image 6). If you have been using iTunes for a while on the Mac, then the whole Finder window should start to look very familiar. In Cover Flow mode, the main window is cut down with the cover flow images in the top half and a list view of the files in the bottom half. Just like in iTunes, you can scroll the Cover Flow slider left or right to quickly skim through previews of the files. If it is a program or folder, you will see its icon. If it’s a document, like a photo or PDF, you will see a preview of the file. If you have a digital camera then you know that the photos are usually named something like IMG001, IMG002, etc. In Cover Flow view you can quickly skim through the photos without having to open iPhoto, or some other image editor.

Another new feature in Leopard is Quick Look. Just to the right of the view selection buttons is a button with an eye on it (image 1 G). Quick Look allows you to very quickly see the contents of a file, or several files, without having to launch the application that created it. Just select one or more files, click on the Quick View button, and a dark gray window will appear with previews of the files contents (image 7). In the window that pops up there are controls at the bottom to go backwards or forwards through the list. There is even a play button here, which will automatically advance through all the files you have chosen. This is a handy way to select a large group of photos and very quickly show them as a slide show. All without having to run a special program.

Next to the Quick Look button (image 1), is the Actions Button (H). Clicking on this button will bring up a set of menus (image 8). This menu contains commands and settings found in many different locations. Since these commands are commonly used in daily computer use, having them here in a one place can be a huge time saver. You can do things like create a new folder, select Open or Open With, move an item to Trash, Get Info, and other useful commands.

Another trick that is still in the Finder, in OS X 10.5, is the ability to Command Click on the Title Bar name. This is something that goes way back in the Mac OS system. Say you have a Finder window open that is several folders deep into the Mac’s hard drive. Instead of hitting the back button several time, which may not get you where you want, just hold down the Command key and click on the Title Bar name (image 9). Doing this will bring up a list letting you to back out of the folder one, two, or all the way back to the main level of the drive or computer itself. This is a very quick way to get from deep inside your Mac out to the main level of the hard drive.

When the Finder is running, you should see the word Finder in the menu bar right next to the Apple icon in the upper left corner. Click on the Finder menu and select Preferences to bring up the Finder Preferences window (image 10). Here you can set some important ‘prefs’ for the Finder. Under the General Tab I like to check all the items to show on the desktop (the first four check boxes). Under the Sidebar Tab, I have everything checked here. Under the Advanced Tab I also turn on the ‘Show all file extensions’. While this last part is not really necessary, if you are coming from a Windows background to OS X then showing the extensions on the end of a file will be much more familiar. Some examples of extensions are: .TIF for Tiff images, .PDF for Adobe Reader files, or .APP for applications.

Well that does it, a quick overview of the Mac OS X 10.5 Finder. There are plenty of little tricks that can help you navigate through your system. Check back to this blog for more tips and tricks later on.


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