How To Get The Most Out of Your Mac Finder Window

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With so many files on your Mac, you would probably be completely lost if it weren’t for the Finder. Apple knows how important the Finder is to all Mac users and that’s why it’s improved with each release. You use the Finder every day but don’t have time to get to know it. There are probably features that could help you get things done faster, but you’ve probably haven’t had a chance to dig into the Finder. So here we are with an article which will cover the following topics about Mac Finder.

1. How to Enable Viewing Options on Finder

2. How to Add a Folder or File

3. How to Remove Items from the Finder Sidebar

4. Hide or Show Default Items in The Sidebar

5. Create Smarter Folders

6. How to Enable Status Bar, Path Bar, and Preview

Customize Mac finder

Also Read: How to Customize the Dock on Your Mac

How to Enable Viewing Options on Finder

Most people probably ignore all the things they can do if only they had the viewing option enabled. By enabling it, you can do things such as personalize the icon size, arrangement, text size, grid spacing, item info, label positions and preview. To enable the feature go to the View menu and click on Show View Options.

How to Add a Folder or File

Accessing the folders and files, you often use the old fashioned way can be annoying. If you add them to the sidebar, they will only be a click away.  You can do this by opening the Finder windows and clicking in the Dock. You can also click on a free space on your Mac’s desktop.

Drag a folder or file to the sidebar, and you should see a horizontal line that will indicate the place that the folder or file will be placed. If you’re using OS X El Capitan, OS X Yosemite or macOS Sierra, you’re going to need to hold down the Command (Cloverleaf) key when the folder or file is dragged to the Finder’s sidebar.

Make sure to position the folder or file where you want it to go and release. Don’t forget that there are restrictions as to where the folder or file can be placed. For example, in Tiger10.4x it’s only possible to put something in the Location section of the sidebar. Network devices and drives have a reserved space in the upper section.

If you’re using Leopard 10.5x, you’ll only be able to add things to the Places section. Last but not least, in OS X Yosemite and later, you can only put items in the Favorites section.

Also Read: 7 Free Cleaning Mac Apps 

How to Remove Items from the Finder Sidebar

When your sidebar gets crowded, it’s time to do some cleaning. You can easily do this by just right-clicking on what you want to remove and choose Remove from Sidebar when the popup menu appears. The item itself is still going to be safe in its original location even though it’s not on the Finder.

Hide or Show Default Items in The Sidebar

Showing or hiding default items is also an easy task. All you have to do is open the Finder window and click on its icon in the Dock. You can also do this by clicking on an empty space on the desktop.

In the Finders preferences click the Sidebar icon in the Preferences window. Add or remove a checkmark from the list of items and when you’re done close the window.

Create Smarter Folders

Having Smart Folders is a must. They are useful because they gather apps or files according to particular criteria you set up. To create a smart folder choose the option that says New Smart Folder from the File menu in the Finder. If you prefer, you can also press Command-Option-N and then type in a phrase or topic in the search field.

A little top to keep in mind is that when you’re searching in a regular window in Finder, you can limit the search exclusively to names of files by choosing ¨Name matches¨. You’ll see this on the menu that appears and then click Name > Filename.

How to Enable Status Bar, Path Bar, and Preview

These features can be useful as you browse. Try enabling them one by one and seeing if it’s best if you have all of them or just some on. To get started open the Finder and click on View in the menu bar and then click on Show Path Bar First.

Thanks to the Path Bar, you can see the path of any file you choose in Finder, so you know where it is and how to find it. Click on any file so you can see the hierarchy of drives, subfolders, and folders that will lead to its location.

If every time you go through the All My Files section with different files all over the place, this feature is going to come in hand. By double-clicking on a folder in the Path Bar, you’ll be taken to that location as well.

Now, you’ll need to click on the Show Status Bar in the View Menu. It’s not a huge help if you want to know what files are selected, but you will get to enjoy a slider for magnifying the icons. It could also help you to modify this slider if you ever needed to.

Last but not least, it’s time to set up the Preview, Click on the Show Preview in the View option to get a  new sidebar. Click on any file and you’ll see a large preview with some additional information. You can even add tags if you want that will help you sort.

Also Read: 11 Best Productivity Apps for Mac


Correct me if I’m wrong but I think Mac users would just be lost if it weren’t for the Finder. It’s a very and necessary tool that you use every single day. How to you take advantage of the Finder Windows? Drop a comment below and let me know.

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Judy Sanhz
I can never get enough of tech in general, whether it's Android or web apps but helping others solve their tech problems also brings great satisfaction. I carry a device wherever I go, and I'm always connected. Life without the Internet just sounds too scary to me. :-)


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