10 Cool Finder Tricks for Mac You Should Use

Last Updated: January 2, 2017

It’s easy to think of Mac’s finder just as a file manager, but in reality, it is so much more. The blue-and-white happy mac icon incorporates a plethora of tricks beneath its always smiling face. So whether you are a Mac newbie or a pro-user, I’ve got you covered. Today, I’ll tell you about 10 Finder tricks for Mac you should know:

1. Text Clippings

Picture the scenario when you need to save a quote you’re reading online. Your first instinct would be to select and copy the text, accompanied by pasting somewhere in a text editor and saving it. Why go through so much hassle when you can just select and drag the text to any Finder window or desktop? Yes, it’s so natural that you wonder how could you have not known it.

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You can also save images from the web using the same drag and drop trick. The extension of the saved image would be the same as that of the web image. In the case of text, the extension would be “.textClipping”. It may seem like a fancy extension, but it’s just a plain text file actually.

2. Folders on Top

All this time, there was no inbuilt way to sort folders on top when sorting by name in Finder. This may seem trivial, but drove a large number of people crazy. Finally, with macOS Sierra, you can keep folders on top, followed by files sorted by name.

Navigate to “Finder” (in the top menu-bar) -> “Preferences” -> “Advanced” and check the option where it says “Keep folders on top when sorting by name“.

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To be honest, it feels a little embarrassing to acknowledge that it took Apple so long to finally bring this setting. Anyway, now that it’s there, you should start using it.

3. Lock Files or Folders

Let me tell you what this is not about: Locking your files with a password. Instead, it’s about locking a file or folder to prevent accidental moving or deletion.

To lock a file/folder right-click on it and click “Get Info”. Check the box where it says “Locked”. Your file/folder will now display a small lock icon to indicate that it is locked.

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Now, if you try moving or deleting this file, it’ll ask you for confirmation.

finder_for_mac_tricks3-2 This makes sure you do not accidentally delete any important files. To unlock a file, just uncheck the same box in “Get Info”.

4. Merge Open Finder Windows

If you have a lot Finder windows open around, your workspace could become a mess pretty soon. Luckily, there’s an option which can re-organize all your open windows into tabs in a single window.

This is what it looks like with three Finder windows opened:

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Now I just click on “Window” from the menu bar -> “Merge all Windows“.

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This is how it looks like now. Pretty clean, eh?

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5. Quickly Jump to a File Path

Windows makes it super-easy to directly navigate through a file path with the breadcrumbs feature as shown below:

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macOS has a similar functionality, though not in a very obvious way. In macOS, single tap with two fingers on the topmost window icon.

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From here, you can directly navigate to any location in the file path. The below picture should make it clear.

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6. Remove Items From Trash After 30 Days

This feature is the result of Apple’s effort to bring better storage management with macOS Sierra. As its name implies, when this little setting is checked, macOS automatically deletes files from your trash in 30 days. This can help to declutter all the files that have been lying around in the trash. Unfortunately, you cannot change the number of days, as of now.

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Navigate to “Finder” -> “Preferences” -> “Advanced” and check the box where it says “Remove items from Trash in 30 days“.

7. New Folder With Selection

Usually, when you need to move multiple files, you select the files, cut them and paste in a new folder. macOS makes it two steps easier, eliminating the need to create a new folder and pasting in it. Select the files you want to move. Right click on any of them and select “New folder with selection“.

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So there you have it, a single step process for moving files to a new folder.

8. Smart Folders

“Smart folders” is a rather underrated feature in macOS. These folders are actually virtual folders which save a search in a new Finder tab. It can be useful to organise your files and see them in one place. For example, here I have saved a search to find all my MP3s files. This Smart Folder shows me all the MP3 files I’ve stored anywhere on my Mac, in one place.

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To set up a Smart Folder, go to Finder’s menu bar, click on “File” -> “New Smart Folder”.finder_for_mac_tricks8-2

Click on the “+” button next to the “Save” button. Type in any search criteria you need. It could be the file type, filename, filesize, date created or just about anything.

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Look at some of the filters you can set-up:

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You can add as many search criteria as you like, using the “+” icon. Next, click on the “Save” button to save your configuration.

finder_for_mac_tricks8-59. Rename Multiple Files

macOS provides a robust solution for renaming multiple files. Select the multiple files, right-click on any of them and click “Rename X items“.

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From here on, you get almost every possible option to rename those files. You could add text, replace text or format it using your own naming scheme. It gives a whole lot of control on what and how to rename the files to.

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10. Keyboard Shortcuts

It’s no secret that using keyboard shortcuts can dramatically improve your workflow. Apart from the usual Copy (Cmd+C) and Cut (Cmd+X), Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts you can use in Finder:

  • Option+Space : Opens an automatic slideshow of all the selected items.
  • Cmd+F : Search for files.
  • Cmd+Z : Undo the last operation.
  • Cmd+[ : Go back in finder.
  • Cmd+] : Go forward in finder.
  • Cmd+del: Trash a file/folder
  • Switch Finder views (Icon, list, column, cover flow) : Cmd+1, Cmd+2, Cmd+3, Cmd+4 respectively.
  • Cmd+T : Opens a new tab.
  • Cmd+W : Closes the tab.

You can find an exhaustive list of keyboard shortcuts over at Apple’s site.

SEE ALSO: 8 Apple Mail Tips and Tricks for iOS and macOS

Ready To Use Out These Finder Tricks?

According to me, these are some of the best Finder tricks. Finder is an integral part of macOS and I hope you make the most out of it with all these cool tricks. What other Finder tricks do you use? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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