Customise the finder toolbar and sidebar on mac

0:00, 22 мая 2020
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1. What is the difference between OpenInTerminal and OpenInTerminal-Lite?

OpenInTerminal currently has a normal version and a lite version. If you like more powerful features and GUI preferences, then you can use OpenInTerminal. If you just need to open terminal faster and more stably, then you can use OpenInTerminal-Lite.

2. I accidentally clicked on the button.

You can run the following command in the terminal. This will reset the permissions in the System Preferences.

3. Special characters in the .

Please do not use backslash and double quotes in the path.

4. Open two Terminal windows on Mojave

This problem usually occurs when Terminal is first started. So you can use to close Terminal window instead of using to quit Terminal.

5. Finder Extension Standalone Operation Mode

Currently Finder extension is completely dependent on AppleScript in order to run independently. So it is hard to guarantee its stability. When you find that Finder extension doesn’t work properly, you need to hold down the key, right-click on Finder, and select .

6. OpenInTerminal doesn’t work as I expected

OpenInTerminal will open terminal or editor as the following order:

  • 1. Open the file or folder that you selected.
  • 2. Open the top Finder window.
  • 3. Neither. Then open the desktop.

For example, if you select a file in the bottom Finder window and you want to open the above Finder window in terminal, this will not work as you expected according to the above order.

Q: I right-click on the desktop but no terminal or editor appears. But actions in status bar menu work.

A: Try to select a file(folder) or open a Finder window. Because when you right-click on the desktop and nothing is selected, system does not provide program with the path of selected files. Under this situation, the program does not work.Currently they(Fidner extension and actions in status bar menu) do not work as the same way. Finder extension is completely dependent on AppleScript in order to run independently, while status bar icon works as before. So they have different behaviors. This problem will be improved in the future.

7. The implementation mechanism of OpenInTerminal and why there are two versions.

There are two ways to achieve «open in terminal».

  • 1. ScriptingBridge. It’s faster and more stable than the second one, although the differences are small. and actions of in status bar menu are based on this way. Its disadvantage is that applications which use ScriptingBridge to access user’s directory infomation or something else cannot be sandboxed.
  • 2. AppleScript. Finder extension of is completely dependent on AppleScript in order to run independently. The first way cannot be applied to Finder extension because it is required to be sandboxed.

Some people want OpenInTerminal to be fast and stable(the lite version), while others want OpenInTerminal to be powerful and easier to configure(the normal version). Some people hope that OpenInTerminal can automatically adapt to dark mode(the normal version), while others just want to open the terminal with one click(the lite version).

When one version can no longer meet these needs, OpenInTerminal was split into a normal version and a lite version a few months ago.

(BTW, I know there are apps that are sandboxed and can achieve the same effect as OpenInTerminal. But I don’t know how it implements this. If anyone knows it and is willing to talk to me, that would be great. I’m very happy to make OpenInTerminal more perfect so that one version is enough.)

How to Remove Apps and Documents from the Dock

No matter which version of OS X you’re using, removing a Dock icon is an easy process, though you need to be aware of a subtle difference between OS X versions.

macOS Mojave and Later

Most versions of Mac OS X and macOS let you drag and drop items from the Dock.

  1. Quit the application, if it’s currently open.

    If you’re removing a document, you don’t need to close the document first, but it’s probably a good idea to do so.

  2. Click and drag the item’s icon off the Dock towards the Desktop. As soon as the icon is completely outside of the Dock, you will see a Remove menu pop up.

  3. You can then let go of the mouse or trackpad button.

OS X Lion and Earlier

  1. Quit the application, if it’s currently open.

    If you’re removing a document, you don’t need to close the document first, but it’s probably a good idea to do so.

  2. Click and drag the item’s icon off the Dock towards the Desktop. As soon as the icon is completely outside of the Dock, you can let go of the mouse or trackpad button.

  3. The icon will disappear with a puff of smoke.

OS X Mountain Lion to High Sierra

Apple added a small refinement to dragging a Dock icon in OS X Mountain Lion. It’s essentially the same process, but Apple introduced a small delay to put an end to Mac users accidentally removing Dock icons.

  1. If an application is running, it’s a good idea to quit the app before proceeding.

  2. Position your cursor over the icon of the Dock item you wish to remove.

  3. Click and drag the icon onto the Desktop.

  4. Wait until you see a small puff of smoke appear within the icon of the item you have dragged off the Dock.

  5. Once you see the smoke within the icon, you can release the mouse or trackpad button.

  6. The Dock item will be gone.

That slight delay, waiting for the puff of smoke, is effective in preventing accidental removal of a Dock icon, which can happen if you accidentally hold down the mouse button as you move the cursor over the Dock. Or, as has happened to us once or twice, accidentally releasing the mouse button while dragging an icon to change its location in the Dock.

How to Customize the Dock in System Preferences

Before you start removing icons from your Dock, remember that there are some Dock customizations you can perform that may let you put off making decisions about which apps need to go and which can stay.

The Dock Preference Pane contains settings you can use to affect how your Dock looks and acts. Adjusting these options should be your first step because it’s easier than deleting programs. Here’s how.

  1. Open System Preferences under the Apple menu.

  2. Click Dock.

  3. The Size slider affects how large icons appear in the Dock. As you move it, the Dock will appear to let you preview the changes.

    The number of apps in the Dock affects the maximum size you can get with this slider.

  4. Click the checkbox next to Magnification to turn this setting on. When Magnification is activated, app icons will get bigger when you mouse over them, so they’ll be easier to see.

    Move the slider to affect the level of magnification.

  5. The Position on Screen option lets you decide where the Dock appears. Choose Bottom to fit more icons.

If customizing the Dock doesn’t solve your space problems, it’s time to consider removing apps, stacks, and document icons from your Dock.

Removing apps from the dock is not the same as uninstalling apps. 

The process of removing applications and documents from the Dock has changed a bit over the years. Various versions of OS X and the newer macOS have slightly different methods.

Mac OS X and macOS have a few restrictions in place about which items you can remove. The Finder and the Trash are permanent members of the Dock. There’s also a separator (a vertical line or dotted line icon) that marks where apps end and documents, folders, and other items begin in the Dock.

Create and use tabs

If you’ve used a web browser in the last decade or so, you’re probably familiar with tabs. Using tabs helps reduce window clutter. Rather than open a separate window for each web page you want to view, each web page can be viewed in a tab, and multiple tabs can be part of one window.

So, too, with the Finder. Each Finder window can hold multiple tabs, which will appear right above the contents of the window. Here’s how to enable and use it.

  1. From the View menu, choose Show Tab Bar.
  2. To create a new tab, click the add button at the right end of the Tab Bar.
  3. To close a tab, click the x to the left of the tab’s name. Option-clicking the x will close all tabs in the window except the one you clicked.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

You can make as many tabs as you like, and you can drag them from right to left along the Tab Bar to rearrange them.

How to Add a Folder to the Finder Sidebar

You can add your most often used folders to the Finder sidebar for easy access whenever you open a Finder window. To add a folder to the sidebar, complete the following steps:

  1. Open a Finder window by selecting the Finder icon in the Dock.

  2. Locate a folder in the main Finder window, and then drag it to the Favorites section of the sidebar.

    If Favorites doesn’t appear in the Finder sidebar, select Finder > Preferences, select Sidebar, and then select the checkbox for at least one item in the Favorites section.

    A horizontal line appears, indicating the location the folder will occupy when you release the mouse button.

  3. Position the folder where you want it to appear, and then release the mouse button.

When you add a folder, app, or disk to the Finder sidebar, you only create a shortcut to that item. The item remains in its original location.

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Get a Full-sized Preview of Files

Did you know that on a Mac you can see a full-sized preview of a file without having to open the corresponding app? I didn’t, and I felt delighted when I found out. To see such previews, select any file and hit the spacebar to open its preview pane. Press the spacebar again to toggle back the preview.

You can do this for folders too, which displays the folder size, the number of items contained within, and the date and time it was last modified. If you have selected a bunch of images, you can view them as a slideshow using a preview. If the file happens to be video or audio, you can play it too.


The Quick Look toolbar icon (that resembles an open eye) also launches a preview of a file.


version 2.2.0

  • Custom Finder menu options.
  • Support Russian.
  • Support PhpStorm.
  • Fix: doesn’t work when opening desktop in terminal.

version 2.1.1

  • Signed the application with the developer account. Bundle ID has changed.
  • Support Finder Extension Standalone Operation Mode.
  • Support CotEditor and MacVim.
  • User can hide context menu items.
  • Finder context menu item’s title will change to the current default terminal / editor.

old version

version 2.0.5

Fix: check application exist bug

version 2.0.4

  • Support TextMate
  • Fix: keyboard shortcut bug

version 2.0.3

Fix: Finder context menu icon supports dark mode

version 2.0.2

  • Support Visual Studio Code — Insiders
  • Support for hiding the status bar icon

version 2.0.1

  • Support BBEdit
  • Add icon in Finder context menu
  • Fix: check application folder under home directory

version 0.10.2

Fix: Finder context menu does not appear on other disks.

version 0.10.1

  • iTerm will not leave `cd xxx` in history.
  • You need to click the `window` button or the `tab` button of iTerm again in `Preferences`.

version 0.10.0

  • Support keyboard shortcuts.
  • Support VSCodium.

version 0.9.1

Support French.

version 0.9.0

OpenInTerminal has been released after several weeks of development. If you have suggestions or there are bugs, please feel free to open an issue.

version 0.4.1

Support Alacritty

version 0.4.0

You can set a default to open a new tab or window when using Terminal and Hyper.

version 0.3.0

  • Change name to ( will come as a more powerful version in the future.)
  • Fix a bug that some special characters in the path would crash the program when opening Hyper.

version 0.2.0

  • Add terminal selector
  • Cancel running command when opening iTerm

version 0.1.1

  • Support
  • Give priority to creating a new tab when opening iTerm

version 0.1.0

First release

How to Add an Application to the Finder Sidebar

The Finder sidebar gives you quick access to more than folders. You can create shortcuts to the applications you use most often, as well.

Depending on the version of macOS or OS X you’re using, you may need to change the Finder view to List before you can drag an app to the sidebar.

To add an application to the Finder sidebar, complete the following steps:

  1. Open a Finder window by selecting the Finder icon in the Dock.

  2. In Finder, select Go > Applications.

  3. Locate the application you want to add to the sidebar, press and hold the Command key, and then drag the application to the Favorites section of the Finder sidebar.

  4. Position the application where you want it to appear, and then release the mouse button.

Finder Preferences

Again, as with any application, open its Preferences and see what you can customize to fit your needs. Click on your desktop and then go to Finder>Preferences. There you will find four sections. Let’s examine some possible items you might want to change.


You probably will want to uncheck the boxes for items on the desktop. Having your Finder filled with Hard and External disks, and CD/DVD icons does nothing but add clutter. These items can always be accessed on the Sidebar of any opened Finder window.


Each time you open a Finder window, you can have it open to a selected window by default. So for example, if you find yourself opening your Documents or Pictures folder a lot, then change the drop-down button under “New Finder windows open:“.


Using the Actions button (noted above) in your toolbar, you can select one or more file or applications and label them with a selected color. I use the colors to make certain items stand out in a folder, but you might want a more systematic approach to your color coding. So you can change the names for each color to say Red for Urgent files, Green for Complete Drafts, etc.


The Sidebar is where you can click on or off items that you want to appear in any Finder window that you open. You will probably want to keep all the items checked, except for a few items in the Search For area.


Items in the Advanced area are pretty self-explanatory as well. If for example you don’t need to be warned that you’re emptying Trash on your computer, then simply uncheck that item. If you want all your trashed items securely deleted, then check that box.

The Toolbar

Confused about that row of buttons below the Finder window’s name? It’s called the Toolbar and it contains buttons for common commands when working with the contents of Finder windows. If you don’t know what those buttons do, you can hover the pointer on top of them for a moment and a tool tip will appear. Better yet, you can add labels.

  1. From the View menu choose Customize Toolbar….
  2. In the sheet that appears, from the Show pop-up menu, choose Icon and Text.
  3. Click Done.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

You can also add, delete, or rearrange individual Toolbar buttons by dragging them into, out of, or within the Toolbar.

Show and hide the Toolbar

You can hide the Toolbar on any Finder window. If you do so, the Sidebar (which we will get to in the next section) will also be hidden. The Toolbar and Sidebar will still be visible on other open Finder windows.

  1. From the View menu, choose Hide Toolbar.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

If the Toolbar is hidden, the Hide Toolbar command changes to Show Toolbar. Showing the Toolbar for a Finder window will also show its Sidebar.

How to use Quick Look tools in Finder

Quick Look’s updates in macOS Mojave make it more powerful than ever. Here’s how you use it.

  1. Click on the Finder icon in your Dock to open a new Finder window.
  2. Choose the view you want to use.

  3. Click on the file you want to use with Quick Look.
  4. Tap the space bar on your keyboard to bring up Quick Look.
  5. Click the action button to take an action on the file. What actions you can take and what the button looks like will depend on the file type.

    • Documents will have a Markup button. This allows you to draw, write, and highlight on images and documents, add text boxes to them, and even sign documents with a pre-saved signature. Images can be cropped and rotated as well.
    • In addition to Markup, images may also have a Rotate button. Press this to rotate your image to the left.
    • Audio and video files will have a Trim button. Press this, then grab the sliders on either end of the Quick Look preview to trim the length of an audio clip or video.
  6. Tap the space bar again when you’re done with Quick Look.

Customize the Toolbar

The Finder toolbar is where you’ll find buttons for functions like switching icon views, editing tags, and sharing items. To rearrange toolbar items to your liking, access the toolbar settings by clicking on View > Customize Toolbar. You can also reach them via Customize Toolbar from the context menu of the toolbar itself.

The overlay that appears provides you with an entire set of toolbar icons at your disposal. Use drag and drop to move them between this overlay and the toolbar or to rearrange existing toolbar icons.

Want to add your favorite apps, files, and folders to the Finder toolbar? Hold down the Cmd key and drag them to the toolbar. To get rid of them, just drag them out of the toolbar while keeping the Cmd key pressed. They’ll vanish in a puff of smoke!

Add Items to the Finder Toolbar​

To customize your Finder toolbar:

  1. Open a Finder window on a Mac by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock.

  2. In the Finder menu bar, click View and select Customize Toolbar from the drop-down menu, or right-click in a blank area of the Finder toolbar and select Customize Toolbar from the pop-up menu.

  3. The screen that slides into view contains the options for customizing the Finder toolbar.

    Some of the most convenient functions to add to the toolbar are:

    • Path: Shows the current path to the folder you’re viewing in the active Finder window.
    • New Folder: Lets you add a new folder to the folder you’re currently viewing.
    • Get Info: Displays detailed information about a selected file or folder, such as where it’s located on your drive, when it was created, and when it was last modified.
    • Eject: Ejects removable media, such as CDs and DVDs, from the optical drive.
    • Delete: Sends files or folders to the Trash.
  4. Click and drag an icon from the dialog sheet up to the Finder toolbar. Dragged icons can be positioned anywhere within the toolbar, with current icons moving over to make room for new ones you drag into place.

  5. Click Done when you finish adding items to the toolbar.

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Apps That Make Finder More Powerful

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The popular TotalFinder ($9.99) that would have been a perfect fit for this section is going away. It won’t work beyond Yosemite. Here are other apps that provide similar functionality.

XtraFinder (free)

XtraFinder is not a standalone app. It’s a plugin that adds features like dual panes and cut-and-paste functionality to Finder. You can use it to arrange folders on top, display the number of items in a folder, and add colorful icons to the sidebar. Read more about XtraFinder in our review

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PathFinder ($39.95)

Want total control over Finder? Invest in PathFinder. It’s expensive, yes, but it also gives you a rich feature set

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that’ll prove handy if you intend to be a Mac power user.

From merging folders to integrating your browser workflow into Finder, there’s a long list of tweaks PathFinder helps you with. Take advantage of the app’s 30-day free trial to see if it improves your Mac workflow.

Arthur ($9)

Arthur gives you a set of options to tweak not just Finder, but your entire Mac. Some of those settings are available by default on OS X. But you either have to look for them in different locations or they involve some complex procedures. Arthur bundles up all those settings and puts them in a central, easy-to-access location.

As for the Finder tweaks Arthur includes, here they are:

  • Show all hidden files and system files
  • Show the path bar
  • Show all file extensions

Space, Flexible Space, and Separators

You may have noticed a few unusual items in the dialog sheet for customizing the Finder toolbar: Space, Flexible Space, and depending on the version of the Mac OS you are using, Separator. These items can add a bit of polish to the Finder toolbar by helping you organize it.

  • Space: Adds a fixed-size space, approximately the size of a single toolbar icon, to the toolbar. You can use a space to give Finder toolbar items a little breathing room.
  • Flexible Space: Produces a space that is variable in size. As the size of the Finder window changes, the flexible space size changes, but it never becomes smaller than the standard (default) space item.
  • Separator: Adds a visual vertical line to help separate toolbar icons. A good use of a Separator is to help define a group of related toolbar icons. Can’t find the separator item? Apple removed it from the toolbar options starting with OS X Lion. That’s too bad; it was a useful feature. You can use the Flexible Space to perform a function that’s similar to the Separator, just not as elegant.

How to customize the Finder toolbar

Be default, the Finder toolbar offers a number of different buttons you can use to do things like change the view of the Finder or perform an action, but you can customize the bar to your liking with several different tools.

  1. Open a new Finder window.
  2. Right-, control-, or two-finger-click on the toolbar.

  3. Click Customize Toolbar…
  4. Click and drag different tools onto the bar. Here are some that you can choose from:

    • Quick Look:  The first tool I would pick. The Quick Look button is a great way to get a glance at a document or photo that you have in the finder.
    • Delete: Delete an item from the Finder after highlighting it.
    • Connect: Connect to an external server if you know the address. You can store a number of favorite servers and switch between them using this button.
    • Get Info: Highlight something in the Finder and press this button to get a detailed set of information on it.
  5. Click Done once you’ve added all of the tools to the toolbar that you want.

The Sidebar

The far left side of the Finder window contains a column with a light gray background called the Sidebar. By default it shows some Favorites (both tasks and folders on your Mac), Locations (such as iCloud Drive or devices on your network) and Tags that you can apply to folders and files.

The Sidebar and some of its categories (Favorites, Tags, etc.) can be customized.

iMore’s overview article covers , but you can do even more.

Show and hide a Sidebar category

  1. Place the pointer on the name of a category; to its right the word Hide will appear.
  2. Click Hide.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

If the contents of a category are hidden, placing the pointer on the category name will display the word «Show». Click Show to reveal the contents of the category.

Rearrange categories and their contents

  1. Place the pointer on the name of a category, and drag it to a new location in the Sidebar.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

  2. Place the pointer on a category item in Favorites or Tags and drag it to a new location within the category.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

Add and delete category items

In addition to the categories that you can display in Finder Preferences, you can drag individual folders into the Sidebar for quick access.

  1. To add a folder to the Sidebar, drag a folder to the Favorites category in the Sidebar.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

You can also drag folders from your iCloud Drive into the iCloud category.

  1. To remove a folder from Favorites, drag it out of the Sidebar.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

Dragging a folder into the sidebar or removing it from the sidebar does not affect its actual location on your Mac. A folder dragged into the Sidebar is merely an alias (or pointer) to the original folder. If you delete the original folder (and empty the trash), it’ll automatically be deleted from the Sidebar.

Change the width of the Sidebar

Got an item in the Sidebar with a truncated name because the Sidebar is too narrow? Change the width of the Sidebar.

  1. Place the pointer on the vertical line dividing the Sidebar from the contents of the window and when the pointer turns into a double-headed arrow, drag to the right.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

Needless to say, you can make the Sidebar narrower by dragging to the left.

Show and hide the Sidebar

Lastly, if you want to hide the Sidebar, that’s easy enough to do. Like hiding the Toolbar, hiding the Sidebar on one window, doesn’t hide it on any other open Finder window.

  1. From the View menu, choose Hide Sidebar.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

If the Sidebar is hidden and the Toolbar is visible, then the Hide Sidebar command changes to Show Sidebar.

Customize The Toolbar

As with all applications, you should see what can be customized in a program’s toolbar. The Finder is no different. So first, open a Finder window (Finder>New Finder Window) and let’s see the few items there by default.

(1) Forward/back buttons for navigating open windows.


(2) Icon, List, Column, and Cover Flow buttons for file viewing and arrangement.

(3) Action button (more about this later) for creating new folders; duplicating, burning, and labeling files and folders

(4) Search bar for finding files and folders in your hard drive.


These items are a good start, but there’s a few more handy items that you might want to add to the toolbar. So click on View>Customize items.., in the menu bar to see what else can be added.

All of these items are pretty self-explanatory. You can drag any item onto the toolbar for easier and quicker access, since more than likely you will have one or more Finder windows open at any given time. You can also of course drag items out of your toolbar that you are not using. If you don’t need these items labeled, click the Show Icon Only drop-down button on the bottom-left.

Files & Folders

The Customize items are great, but more importantly you can also drag any file or application in your hard drive onto your Finder toolbar. It’s like having a dock of items in the Finder that you can activate or open.


Simply click on an item and drag it to the toolbar. An alias of that item will be created in the toolbar and the original will remain in its place. To drag the item out of the toolbar, hold down the Command key and click and drag it off the toolbar.

Applications that you have in the toolbar can be useful for opening accompanying files. So for example if you have a picture file that you want to open, simply drag that file from its folder, place it on top of the Preview icon in your toolbar and it will open that file. You can also activate an application that you put in the toolbar by simply clicking on it.

You can drag as many items you like in the toolbar. When a window is dragged to a smaller dimension, overflow items can be accessed by clicking the arrow icon that will appear in the toolbar.


Show the Path Bar

It’s easy to get lost in the Finder, particularly if you’re trying to navigate your way through a series of nested folders. Column View (which we’ll discuss later) is one way to trace your path through your Mac’s storage, but you can also view a file or folder’s location using the Path Bar.

  1. From the View menu, choose Show Path Bar.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

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The bar at the bottom of the window shows the location of the item you’ve selected in the Finder window. Double-clicking a file in the Path Bar will open it; double-clicking a folder in the Path Bar will display the contents of that folder.

Unlike showing and hiding the Sidebar or Toolbar, showing or hiding the Path Bar applies to all Finder windows.

Customize the Sidebar

Finder’s sidebar packs many options, which can be distracting, especially if you don’t use most of them on a regular basis. Luckily you can get rid of them and have the sidebar show only the locations that you need regular access to.

To clean up the sidebar, navigate to Finder > Preferences and head to the third tab (named Sidebar, of course). There you’ll see a list of the locations that appear in the sidebar under Favorites, Shared, and Devices. Uncheck the locations that you don’t need on display.

The screenshot below shows my Finder sidebar preferences (left) and how the cleaned-up sidebar appears (right) on my Mac.


If you want to add a location to the sidebar on the fly, just drag its folder to the Favorites section. You can also remove shortcuts from the sidebar by dragging them out of the area or using context menu. For bulk operations though, the Preferences section is the easier route.

What Happens When You Remove a Dock Icon

The Dock doesn’t actually hold an app or document. Instead, the Dock contains aliases, represented by an item’s icon. These icons are shortcuts to the actual app or document, which may be located somewhere else within your Mac’s file system. As an example, most apps reside in the /Applications folder. And there’s a good chance that any documents in your Dock are taking up residence somewhere within your home folder.

Adding an item to the Dock doesn’t move the associated item from its current location in the file system to the Dock; it only creates an alias. Likewise, removing an item from the Dock doesn’t delete the original item from its location in your Mac’s file system; it just removes the alias from the Dock. Removing an app or a document doesn’t delete them from your Mac; it only removes the icon and alias from the Dock.

Create Smart Folders

Smart folders are truly a smart way to navigate Finder. They create instant access to specific types of files by allowing you to save your search queries. This makes it easy to find and deal with similar files in bulk instead of wasting time looking for them in different locations.

Set up smart folders to giving yourself handy file groupings such as lists of unused apps, DMG installers, or files that are hogging space

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To create a smart folder, click on File > New Smart Folder. You’ll get a choice of locations to search. Choose This Mac to search the entire hard drive and then click on the ‘+‘ icon at the far right. This gives you two dropdown menus that you can use to set search criteria such as type, name, date modified, etc.

When you select an option from both of these menus, you’ll get a set of results that match these refinements.

If you want to narrow down your search further, add more filters by clicking on the ‘+‘ icon at the far end of an existing filter. When you’re satisfied with the filters you have set up, save the search. It will then appear in your user Library folder under Saved Searches (here’s how you can find the Library folder

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Do note that if you have changed Spotlight preferences (under System Preferences > Spotlight) to exclude certain file types and locations from being indexed, files matching those criteria won’t show up in the search results even while creating smart folders.

Show the Status Bar

If you’re a longtime Mac user, you may remember the days of the Status Bar, which would tell you at a glance how many items were in a selected folder along with the amount of free storage space on your Mac.

The Status Bar still exists, but it’s hidden by default. To see it, do this:

  1. From the View menu, choose Show Status Bar.

    Source: Mike Matthews/iMore

If you are viewing the contents of a window in Icon View, a slider appears at the right end of the status bar; drag it to make the icons in the window larger or smaller. The icon size can be different for each Finder window.

Like the Path Bar, showing or hiding the Status Bar applies to all Finder windows.

Give Finder a Makeover

You can customize the look and feel of various Finder locations. To do so for a particular location, open up that location in Finder. Then access Show View Options through one of the following places and click on it:

  • The View menu from the menu bar
  • The context menu from anywhere within Finder
  • The settings menu (look for the gear icon) from the Finder toolbar

In the box that pops up, you can scale the file and folder icons, move their labels, and change their grid spacing. You can even brighten up the background with a nice color or image. Look for the Arrange By and Sort By options to clean up the folder views by date modified, file type, tags, etc.

Use Finder Tabs

Finder’s tabbed browsing experience works pretty much the same as it does on most mainstream browsers. Keyboard shortcuts like Cmd + T and Cmd + W that work with your browser tabs also work with Finder tabs.

In essence, each Finder tab functions like a separate entity i.e. independent of other tabs. This means that each tab can display a different location and can have its own view. You can drag and drop files between tabs with ease, and even merge multiple windows into tabs in a single window. To merge Finder windows, keep any one of them active and click on Window > Merge All Windows.


If you prefer a tab-free file browser, click on View > Hide Tab Bar. Note that this option will appear grayed out if you have more than one tab open in Finder. In that case, close all tabs till you’re down to the main tab and try again.

How to Quickly Restart Finder on a Mac

The quickest way to restart the Finder in Mac OS X is by using the Dock on a Mac:

Hold down Option key and Right Click on Finder’s Dock icon, then select “Relaunch” from the menu

On a Mac laptop, a Two-Fingered Option click onto the Dock icon for Finder will reveal the “Relaunch” command which will restart the Finder application.

Option+Right Click reveals the otherwise hidden “Relaunch” option in the menu. Selecting that option causes the Finder to quit and restart itself, and the entire desktop will be refreshed in the process. Additionally, any changes made to Finder with defaults commands or other customizations will take effect with the relaunch.

Restarting Finder can be a helpful troubleshooting tip for some strange behaviors that may occur on the Mac desktop, and it’s much faster and less obtrusive than a full system reboot.

Outside of troubleshooting purposes, many customizations and defaults write commands require restarting the Finder for the changes to take effect.

Alternative Approach: Restarting Finder from Terminal of Mac OS X

If the Dock trick doesn’t work for some reason, or maybe because you’re already at the Terminal when using something like a defaults string, the Finder can also be restarted directly from the command line with the following syntax:

Because the Finder is a process just like any other application on the Mac, you can also quit the Finder and treat it like any other application with a force quit or ‘kill’ command, thereby having it stay closed completely.

You can also launch Finder from command line if it didn’t automatically restart for some reason:

Want to see how both of these restarting Finder methods look before you do it yourself? No sweat, here’s a brief video demonstrating Finder restarts from the Option+Right-Click Dock icon trick as well as as the killall Finder trick:

This is demonstrated in OS X Yosemite but the technique works the same in every version of Mac OS that has been around from the beginning of OS running on Macs, including Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard, etc, and surely beyond into the future.

What if the Finder is restarted but it won’t open itself again?

If you happen to restart the Finder this way but it won’t re-open on it’s own, you can force relaunch the Finder with the open command using these directions, this usually doesn’t happen though, and in almost all cases using the restart methods outlined above will trigger the Finder to open again automatically.

Note that leaving the Finder app closed (as in, completely quit) will hide the desktop, icons, and file system browser, which may not be desirable for all users. That’s generally not recommended.

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