Become a Finder Power User ‚ö°


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TL;DR This is only the begin­ning. I pre­pared a whole bunch of useful macOS thin­gies and will pub­lish them in the near future. Follow me to stay updated.

A week ago or two I¬†helped a¬†friend set¬≠ting up his new Mac and get a¬†web-devel¬≠op¬≠ment envi¬≠ron¬≠ment up and run¬≠ning. During this tedious process he noticed how fast I¬†was able to manage some simple every¬≠day sce¬≠nar¬≠ios within macOS. Of course I¬†wanted to share every¬≠thing with him which became quite over¬≠whelm¬≠ing very quickly. You simply can‚Äôt remem¬≠ber more than three short¬≠cuts at once with¬≠out repeat¬≠edly using them by your own. At least I¬†can‚Äôt. That‚Äôs why I¬†decided to start this little series to col¬≠lect some useful little bits, share them with the world, and maybe learn some new ones in the com¬≠ments below. To keep things simple my first post will only cover the Finder which is the default file man¬≠ager of macOS since its begin¬≠ning. But there is a¬†lot more in the making so follow me on Twit¬≠ter if you think you could get more work done in less time. ‚ö°ÔłŹ

Spe­cial Keys

Apple has been incred­i­bly incon­sis­tent with its key­board layout in the last decade espe­cially when it comes to naming and iconog­ra­phy of some spe­cial keys. So to clear things up:

Com­mand Option / Alt Shift Con­trol Tab
‚Ćė ‚Ć• ‚áß ‚ĆÉ ‚á•

Resize columns auto­mat­i­cally

Have you ever switched to columns-view in Finder ‚Ćė+3 and your columns were either totally huge or way to small? There is a¬†simple fix: Just double-click the sep¬≠a¬≠ra¬≠tor line to the right and the column will set its size to the largest item in the¬†list.

Fullscreen Quick­Look & Index Sheet

One thing I¬†miss hardly when play¬≠ing around with Win¬≠dows is get¬≠ting a¬†quick overview of a¬†files con¬≠tent with¬≠out having to open it. In my opin¬≠ion that‚Äôs one of Find¬≠ers core strengths. Simply invoke Quick¬≠Look for the cur¬≠rently selected item by press¬≠ing Space and even nav¬≠i¬≠gate around with your Arrow Keys. A¬†nice addi¬≠tion is its dis¬≠trac¬≠tion-free fullscreen mode which only requires you to hold ‚Ć• while press¬≠ing Space.
In either mode you can:

  • Press and hold ‚Ć• to tem¬≠porar¬≠ily zoom to around 150%.¬†
  • Click the little grid-icon to open a¬†so called Index Sheet where you see all your items at once. I¬†often use this to quickly com¬≠pare two ver¬≠sions of an¬†image.

Quick­Look Exten­sions

Quick­Look is nice but it has some lim­i­ta­tions when it comes to some more advanced file-types like Mark­down, WebP, JSON or even CSV. By exe­cut­ing the fol­low­ing com­mand in your Ter­mi­nal all of this becomes a part of the past.

brew cask install qlcolorcode qlstephen qlmarkdown quicklook-json qlprettypatch quicklook-csv betterzipql qlimagesize webpquicklook suspicious-package quicklookase qlvideo

For more infor­ma­tion see this GitHub page.

Quickly show Dock items in the Finder

This is a¬†short one. You can‚Äôt decide between stack-, grid-, or list-mode of the fold¬≠ers (most likely Down¬≠loads) in your Dock or like none of these like I¬†do? Simply ‚Ćė+Click on them to instantly show them in the Finder. This works with appli¬≠ca¬≠tions¬†too.

Keep fold­ers on top when sort­ing by name

Since macOS Sierra 10.12 you can go to Find­ers set­tings and tick the very last check­box in the very last tab named Keep fold­ers on top when sort­ing by name. Simple but a mas­sive time-saver which should be enabled by default.

Go to Folder

This little text-field you invoke by press¬≠ing ‚Ćė+‚áß+G (or man¬≠u¬≠ally in the menu bar) seems rather boring but it fea¬≠tures the same ‚á• auto-com¬≠ple¬≠tion as your Ter¬≠mi¬≠nal which comes in handy. By the way: In macOS you can simply abbre¬≠vi¬≠ate your home direc¬≠tory (e.g. /Users/wottpal/) with a¬†tilde ~.


Finder has tabs for a long time which is nice if you don’t want your desk­top to be clut­tered with dozens of win­dows. But there are some things to keep in mind if you want to effec­tively work with them. Since macOS Sierra you can enable Open fold­ers in tabs instead of new win­dows in your Find­ers set­tings which I highly rec­om­mend. And if you spread your apps between mul­ti­ple Desk­tops but only want one instance of Finder run­ning on all of them make sure to right click on Find­ers icon and check Assign to all Desk­tops. This can be done with every appli­ca­tion in your Dock.

If you actu­ally work in Finder and want to open a direc­tory in a new tab there are mul­ti­ple ways to do that:

  • Just open a¬†new tab with ‚Ćė+T at your default Finder loca¬≠tion which can be set up in the set¬≠tings as¬†well.
  • ‚Ćė+Double-click on any folder or ‚Ćė+Click on a¬†side¬≠bar¬†item.
  • Right click and chose Open in New¬†Tab
  • Drag the folder onto the plus-icon in the tab bar in the upper right. If you can‚Äôt see the tab bar per¬≠ma¬≠nently enable it with ‚Ćė+‚áß+T.

Other useful short¬≠cuts to handle tabs are (almost) iden¬≠ti¬≠cal with Safari: Close the cur¬≠rent tab with ‚Ćė+W. Nav¬≠i¬≠gate between them with ‚ĆÉ+‚á• and ‚áß+‚ĆÉ+‚á•. But one of my most favorite actions in Safari Close Other Tabs doesn‚Äôt work and is mapped to Close All Tabs: ‚Ćė+‚Ć•+W. What a¬†sad incon¬≠sis¬≠tency. I¬†already con¬≠tacted Apple about that a¬†year ago but they didn‚Äôt respond.¬†ūüėĘ

Batch Rename

A rather less-known but very pow¬≠er¬≠ful fea¬≠ture is renam¬≠ing a¬†bunch of files at once. While renam¬≠ing a¬†single file can be ini¬≠ti¬≠ated simply by press¬≠ing the return key ‚Ü©Ôłé for mul¬≠ti¬≠ple files it‚Äôs nec¬≠es¬≠sary to use a¬†right click. Here you can find a¬†more detailed guide.

Get the absolute path

Some¬≠times it can be useful to know the exact path where a¬†file is located. By press¬≠ing ‚Ć•+‚Ćė+P you can toggle Find¬≠ers handy path bar where all parent direc¬≠to¬≠ries are listed like bread¬≠crumbs. You can even inter¬≠act with them via drag and drop or ‚Ćė+Double-click to open a¬†new tab.
But what if you only want the path copied as plain text? Just do a¬†right click on the ele¬≠ment and hold ‚Ć•. Now you can select Copy ‚Äú‚Ķ‚ÄĚ as Path¬≠name. Et¬†voil√†.

Create a new folder with all selected files

This is one of my favorite time-savers: Select a¬†bunch of files which you want to move to a¬†new direc¬≠tory and press ‚Ćė+‚ĆÉ+N. A¬†new folder is cre¬≠ated for you with all of the files already inside.

Always open file with… 

You all prob¬≠a¬≠bly know if you want to open a¬†file with any other app than its default you can do this with a¬†right click and Open with ‚Ėł. But by hold¬≠ing ‚Ć• this option in the menu becomes Always open with ‚Ėł.

That‚Äôs it for now. I‚Äôve already col¬≠lected at least this amount of Finder tips one more time. Follow me if you don‚Äôt want to miss¬†them. ūüíĆ


Leave yours, too ūüíõ

Torsten wrote

Nice Tips & Tricks‚Ķ hope to see more like them soon :)

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