My 16 Favourite Finder Tips for Mac

My most successful post so far was a list of tips I put together for using Preview on Mac (You can find that here). I thought I may as well share some of my other tips with you all, this time for Finder. I’m sure you will have come across some of these before as Finder has been around for a long long time but I hope you find something of use here.


Select any of the below to jump straight to the tip:

  1. Show recent Finder windows

  2. Batch rename files

  3. Create a new folder from selection

  4. Open a folder in a new tab

  5. Add apps and folders to the Finder toolbar

  6. Reveal the file path of a folder

  7. Change a folder icon

  8. Locking a file

  9. Turn any file into a template

  10. Show the Library folder

  11. Quick look slideshow

  12. Toggle visibility of hidden items

  13. Keep folders and documents separate when organising by name

  14. Quick actions

  15. Show the Inspector

  16. Smart Folders and Advanced Search

  17. Finder Shortcuts


Show recent Finder windows

Easily access your recently closed Finder windows.


  1. Right-Click or Control-Click the Finder icon in the dock to show recent folder locations


Batch rename files

If you have multiple files that you want to rename, or you want to append or prefix the existing names, then the batch rename can help you out. A great use for this is when dealing with photos as they often come across with some generic name format that doesn’t make sense to humans.


  1. Select your files

  2. Right Click (RMB) > Rename


Create a new folder from selection

This is a little workflow improvement that can come in handy. Often, I will find myself with a selection of files which I want to move into their own folder. Rather than deselecting them, creating a new folder and then going back and repeating the process, you can create a folder with those items already selected.


  1. Select your items

  2. RMB > New folder from selection

Open a folder in a new tab

Just like tabs in your browser, Finder can handle multiple tabs also. Great for reducing the number of windows you have open on your desktop.


  1. Hold Command ⌘ while double clicking or opening your folder


Add apps and folders to the Finder toolbar

This isn’t something I use but I can see it being useful to some people out there. You can add apps and folders to the Finder toolbar for quick access and as a bonus, It is very straightforward.


  1. Hold Command ⌘ and Drag the application/folder to the Finder toolbar

  2. To remove, hold Command and drag them back out


Reveal the file path of a folder

If you love folders like me, you can often have multiple nested folders and it's pretty easy to forget where you are in that structure, you may also simply want to jump back up a few levels to a different folder. Showing the folder location can solve this problem for you.


You have two options here, an on the fly solution and a more permanent option which I run with.


On the Fly:

  • Right click or CMD + click or Control click the folder name in title bar

Permanent:

  • View > Show Path Bar


Change a folder icon

Do you find the default folder icon a little dull and want to jazz things up? Try changing the icon.


  1. Copy your desired icon or image

  2. Select a Folder

  3. ⌘ + I or RMB > Get Info

  4. Select the folder icon in the info dialogue window

  5. paste your image ⌘ + V


To reset the icon Select folder > RMB > Get Info > Select Icon > Press Delete Key ⌫


Locking a file

You can add an extra level of protection to any file in Mac OS by using the lock file option. This can prevent unwanted changes happening to a file and it will also warn you if you try and delete it by accident.


  1. Select your file

  2. RMB > Get Info

  3. Check the “Locked“ checkbox


Turn any file into a template

You can turn any file into a template within Mac OS. What this means is that instead of opening the original file, the system will automatically create a copy for you and then open that copy. This leaves your original file as was and intact. It is fundamentally a Save As or Duplicate without you having to do anything. This is great if you have to frequently fill out repetitive forms.


  1. Select your file

  2. RMB > Get Info

  3. Check the “Stationery Pad” checkbox


Show the Library folder

If you are somewhat of a power user you may find yourself having to navigate to the Library folder. This location is often hidden away but you can have it displayed by default.


  1. Make sure you are in your Users folder (Mac HD > Users > “Your user”)

  2. ⌘ + J or RMB > Show View Options

  3. Check the Show Library folder


Enter Quick Look Slide Show

Quick look is fantastic and I use it all the time to quickly preview a file. If you don’t use it, you should. Simply select a file and hit the spacebar ( ␣ ). On top of its default functionality, you can have quick look go full screen using slide show mode.


  1. Select items

  2. press ⌥ + SPACE


Toggle visibility of hidden items

Again, if you’re a power user you may want to access those hidden files that the OS hides from the general population. Just a nice simple keyboard shortcut can get you there.


  1. ⇧ + ⌘ + .


Keep folders and documents separate when organising by name

By default I run with all my Finder windows organised by the file names, what I don’t like though, is that Mac OS mixes both my files and folders up. This option ensures that your folders are shown first, organised by name, followed by your files which are also organised by name.


  1. In any folder open the preferences ⌘ + ,

  2. Select the Advanced Tab

  3. Check the “In windows when sorting by name” under “Keep Folders on top:”


Quick Actions

When selecting a file, under the right mouse button you will find a list of quick actions that can often save you from having to open up a specific application to complete a task. Here I use it to create a PDF from a group of photos.


  1. Select your file(s)

  2. RMB > Quick Actions


Show the Inspector

The inspector is like “Get Info” on steroids. Much like “Get Info” but it will update on a new file selection and show information for multiple files


  1. Select your file(s)

  2. ⌥ + ⌘ + I or RMB while holding option ⌥


Smart Folders and Advanced Search

Smart folders are folders that automatically update their content without you having to do so. You could have one that gathers all PDFs from multiple folders on your system or one that grabs a particular set of images. It does this by using a set of search criteria that you define.

One thing to note here is that the files within your smart folders are the original files, so if you delete one it will be deleted from the original location too.


  1. In Finder

  2. File > New Smart Folder

  3. Enter your search Criteria


You can also create your search first and then save it as a smart folder.


Shortcuts

A shortlist of shortcuts that include any used in the above list of tips along with a few others.


New Finder Window ⌘ + N

Switch Finder View ⌘ + 1 or 2 or 3 or 4

New Folder ⇧ + ⌘ + N

Get Info ⌘ + I

Show Inspector ⌥ + ⌘ + I

Show Preferences ⌘ + ,

Show View Options ⌘ + J

Toggle Hidden Items ⇧ + ⌘ + .

Quick Look ␣ (Spacebar)

Quick Look Slideshow ⌥ + ␣

Eject Disk ⌘ + E

Previous Finder location ⌘ + [

Next Finder location ⌘ + ]


Hopefully you have found at least one of those useful. Please do like, subscribe and share the content if you feel it is worthy :)


If you have any additional tips for Finder, please leave a comment and share your knowlege. Finally, if you want me to cover another Mac app that you use please leave a comment and I will see what I can do


Fourth Wall

17,023 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Subscribe and never miss a post

Thanks for subscribing!