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Tricks with files: Finder Tips

Column tricks in a Finder window
- You can widen the columns by clicking on the little lines at the bottom of the window and dragging it back and forth.

- When you hold down the Option key (Alt), all columns remain the same width.
- When you double-click on these lines in Columns view, the column expands so that the names of the files are fully visible.

Choose the program yourself
1. Right-click on the file to open it with a program of your choice:

2. You may also drag and drop it onto an icon of your choice in the Dock.

Change program forever
Always open such a document with this specific program?
Select a document and choose Info from the File menu. Right clicking is also allowed:

Change there at Open with -the program-:

Then choose Change all:

NOTE: Don't be surprised if you are asked for a password.

I don't have an app to open the document
Then choose 'App Store ...:

The Mac will open the App Store looking for a program that can handle the document.

Finder Preferences
Preferences for using folders can be found under the Finder menu at Preferences => General.

Finder Preferences: Sidebar
Under Navigation column you can check and uncheck what the Navigation column should show yes or no.

Size of icons and text in the Finder
The size of the icons and text in the Finder can be found under the menu View => Show display options, at Symbol and text size. You can set per type of Window, and also the Desktop.

Searching in a Finder Window
Enter a search term in the search field and press the Return key.
Narrow your search results in Mac OS.

Work faster in the Finder
With your right mouse button you can call up a Quick menu on a file, but also on your Desktop.

Compressing a file
Right-click on a file to make it smaller or Compress: turn it into a .zip file.

And there it is already:

NOTE: Zipping is one of the most common forms of compression, also under Windows and Linux. Handy when you have to e-mail or archive a large file.

File extensions
In Windows, it is customary for each file to have the extension listed. This three-letter combination indicates what kind of file it is. This is what Windows recognizes the file from. To show these file extensions on the Mac, go to Finder Preferences => Advanced => Show All File Name Extensions.

Show the path to a file
You can show the exact location of a file on the hard disk by clicking under the View menu => Show path bar.

From now on you will find the exact location of your file at the bottom of every Finder window:

NOTE: In text the above location would be:
/Users/macmiep/Documenten/Macmiep.nl/screenshots big sur

Key Combinations or Shortcuts / Hot Keys
It is useful to work with shortcuts. This is faster and it is more ergonomic than working with the mouse. Behind almost every command in the menu bar you see a strange itch with a letter or number.

This cloverleaf-like refers to the Command keys on your keyboard.


Command-W window away (AWAY)
Command-1: Symbol Display in a Window
Command-2: List View in a Window
Command-3: Columns View in a Window
Command-4: Gallery View in a Window
Command-A select all (ALL)
Command-C copy the selected (COPY)
Command-V then paste it on the indicated spot (VELPON)
Command-X cut (delete the selected) (SCISSORS)
Command-S Save, so save (SAVE)
Command-N New Window / New Document (NEW)
Command-shift-N New folder
Command-O Open (OPEN)
Command-? Heeeeeeelp!
Command-F Search (FIND)
Command-Z Recovery
Command-Q End of program (QUIT)
Command tab Switch between programs
Command-delete Discard the selected item in the Trash

NOTE: In the different programs you will find many more and also very specific ones. Take a look at the menus to find them. It is thé way to work faster!

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Disclaimer: MacMiep is independent. This means she writes what she wants, based on 30 years of Mac-experience. She doesn't get paid for stories (positive or negative) on this website. MacMiep is not interested in your data. However, she does use Google's services. Google is indeed interested. Are you happy with MacMiep? Please support your local cat shelter.