Tips for Using Finder on Mac to Enhance Your User Experience

Finder could be easily one of the most used and yet underutilized apps in your macOS. Let us fix this issue with our bag full of Mac Finder tips and help you realize its full potential.

On paper Finder is the default file manager for Mac, but is anything with our Apple devices just that simple? Of course not!! While simple in its interface, Finder manages to have an ample number of tricks up its sleeve.

Search for a file or have a quick preview, this app can manage all your needs and more. But how? Let us answer this simple question for you, with these amazing macOS Finder tips and tricks.

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Like any other app in the Apple ecosystem, the key term here is personalization. It is not that you have to adapt to how Finder works; it is how can you customize its setting to work according to your style and preferences.

11 Essential macOS Finder Tips and Tricks

Before we discover some hidden gems, let’s get the basics out of the way. To open the Finder app on your Mac, just select its icon from the dock; you can also search Spotlight. To adjust the viewing pattern, choose a preferable pattern form the options in View on the Toolbar.

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Tip #1. Using Quick Look in Mac Finder

The Finder’s Quick Look enables you to preview an image or a document up close, without opening its associated app. All you have to do is select the file.

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Select File in Quick Look in Mac Finder

Now press Option + Space Bar; the file will open in a preview window.

Image File Preview in Mac Finder Quick Look

Quick Look can be used for multiple files as well to view them full-screen slideshow manner. You can also see them all on one screen.

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Tip #2. Open Quick Look for Multiple Files in Mac Finder App

Step #1. Open the Finder on your Mac and select the files.

Launch Finder on your Mac

Select Multiple Files to View in Quick Look on Mac Finder

Step #2. Now press Option + Space Bar, all the files will open in a full-screen mode.

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Step #3. Click on the Play/Pause icon to manage the slideshow.

Click on Play to Start Slideshow on Quick Look in Mac Finder

Step #4. Click on the Arrow icons or Tap on keyboard’s arrow keys to switch between the files.

Click on Arrow to Change Files in macOS Finder

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Step #5. To view these files on one screen, click on the Index Sheet icon.

Click on Index Sheet to View All Files in Mac Finder

Step #6. Select any window to zoom in.

Select Window to Zoom In File on Quick Look in Mac Finder

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Step #7. Either click Close icon or press ESC to quit the Quick Look.

You can also add Quick Look shortcut on the Finder toolbar, here’s how:

Tip #3. Customise Mac Finder Window Toolbar

While the Finder toolbar is by default packed with shortcuts, you can further customize it. Like I stated earlier, you can add Quick Launch shortcut and simply preview the file/files by clicking on the shortcut.

Step #1. FinderSecondary click (right-click) on the empty space of the Toolbar and select Customise Toolbar Option.

Right Click on Finder Toolbar and Select Customise Option in Mac

Step #2. Select the options you want from the drop-down menu and drop it on the Toolbar.

Select Options to Drop it on Finder Toolbar in macOS

Step #3. Once satisfied with the arrangement, click on Done.

Click on Done to Save Options in Finder Toolbar on Mac

The new icons will add to your Toolbar. Similarly, you can also add items of your choice to the sidebar as well.

Tip #4. Adding Folders in The Finder Sidebar on Mac

One of the purposes of covering these macOS Finder tips and tricks is to make your job easier. The Finder’s sidebar can host shortcuts to folders and directories on your computer as per your convenience.

You can either keep the sidebar stacked up with all the folders or just the ones you regularly use.

Step #1. FinderPreferences from the Finder menu.

Click on Preferences on Finder Menu in Mac with macOS

Step #2. Select the Sidebar tab.

Select Sidebar from Preferences in Finder Menu on Mac

Step #3. Check or uncheck the directory or folder you want to add or remove from Finder’s sidebar.

Add Folders to Finder Sidedar on Mac

Step #4. Close the window to exit Preferences.

In the Finder window, you can also rearrange the folders as per your liking. Just click on the folder and drag it up or down. If you want to add a custom folder in the sidebar, simply select the folder from the viewing section, drag and drop it on the sidebar in the Favorites section.

Add Custom Folder in Finder Sidedar on Mac

To remove the custom folder, secondary click (right-click) on the folder and select Remove from Sidebar. You can also use the Preferences settings to show the external hard drive on the sidebar.

Right Click on Floders to Remove from Finder Sidebar in Mac

Tip #5. Customise Menu Bar Icons on Mac

Apart from the tabs on your Menu Bar, you also have Status icons. These icons allow you to access their respective settings from the bar. To further enhance your user experience, you might want to add, delete, or arrange the Status icons as per priority.

Step #1. Press Command(⌘) key and click on the Status icon you want to move.

Step #2. Drag and place the icon as per your liking

If you want to remove a specific Status icon, drag it towards the center of the screen. It will vanish into thin air.

To add a Status icon, open click on the Apple icon → System Preferences. Here select the relevant preference pane and checkmark Show in menu bar. Like in the example below, to add the battery icon back, we opened the Energy Saver option.

Click on System Preferences on Mac

Select Checkmark to Show in Menubar on Mac

Tip #6. Add Status And Path Bar to Mac Finder Window

Both the Status Bar and the Path Bar are placed at the bottom of your Finder window and gives you potent information about the folders and files. The Status Bar informs about the number of items in the opened folder and free storage left on your hard disk.

As for the Path Bar, it shows you the folder path of any selected file or folder in the window. This enables you to find the location of your file without much hassle. To add these bars Finder  View Show Path Bar or Finder  View Show Status Bar.

Add Path Bar To Finder Window in Mac

View Folder Path in Finder Window on Mac

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to enable or disable these bars. Press ‘Option + Command(⌘) + P’ for Path Bar and ‘Command(⌘) + /’ for Status Bar. For more details, check our step-by-step tutorial for the same. Also, to copy the folder path, you can employ these steps.

Tip #7. Refine Your Search on Mac Finder

If you have tons of files on your system, this particular Mac finder tip will sort your life and your searches.

Narrowing or Broadening the Search Location

When you search for something in Finder, you have an option to explore the whole Mac or just that folder. You can easily switch between the search location during the search; choose between This Mac or Current Folder option from the bar at the top.

Choose File Search Location from Finder Toolbar in Mac

You can also set the preferred criteria as default:

Step #1. Open the Finder on your Mac and select Preferences from the Finder menu.

Click on Preferences on Finder Menu in Mac with macOS

Step #2. Click on the Advanced tab.

Click on Advanced tab in Finder Preferences on macOS

Step #3. Select the preferred option from the drop-down menu of When performing a search.

Select Option in Advanced Tab on Mac Finder Preferences

Step #4. Close the setting.

Tip #8. Make Smart Folders in Finder App on Mac

As the name suggests, the feature creates a smart folder. Firstly, narrow down your search by employing various permutations and combinations of criteria. Now, save this search in a Smart Folder and retrieve it whenever you need.

Step #1. Finder  New Smart Folder from the File Menu.

Select New Smart Folder from Finder File Menu on Mac

Step #2. Type your search term in the search bar.

Step #3. Click on ‘+’ icon that is next to the Save icon.

Search and Click on Plus icon Smart Folder on Mac

Step #4. Select options to further refine the search. You can add or remove the conditions as per your choice.

Select Options in Smart Folder to Refine Search on Mac Finder

Step #5. Once satisfied with the result, click on Save.

Save Selected Options in Finder File Menu on Mac

Step #6. Choose a name for the folder, folder location and Select checkbox if you want it on sidebar. Click Save.

Rename and Save Smart Folder in Preferred Loation on Mac

The folder is created and will contain all the files from your computer that follows the conditions laid by you. When a new file is created that follows the terms, it is automatically added to the folder.

Tip #9. Rename Multiple Files on Mac Using Finder App

Renaming is another task that can eat up a lot of your time. Notably, I have not seen a smarter interface of renaming multiple files in any other operating system.

Step #1. Open the Finder app on your Mac and select the files you want to rename.

Select Multiple Files in Finder App on Mac

Step #2. Secondary click (right-click) on the files and select Rename X Items (X will be the number of files selected).

Right Click to Rename Multiple Files on Mac

Step #3. Select the action you want to do from the drop-down menu on the left-hand side.

Select Option to Change File Name in Mac Finder App

  • Replace Text – It will find a particular text in the file name and replace it with the provided text.

Click on Rename to Change Multiple Files Name on Mac

Rename old Files with New Name in Finder App on Mac

  • Add Text – It will add text before or after the file name.

Select Add Text to Rename Multiple Files on macOS


Change Old Files Name with New Name in Mac Finder

  • Format – It will change the format of the file name, you can add Index, Counter, and Date; before or after the file name.

Format Multiple Files Name in Finder on App

View Changes in File Name on Mac Finder App

Tip #10. Set Your Default Finder Folder on Mac

Your Finder window will always open to a default folder, mostly the Recents. However, you can use the setting to suit your work. Finder → Preferences → General → New Finder windows show. For a more detailed tutorial, check out our post on the matter.

Select General Tab in Finder Preferences on Mac

Set Your Default Finder Folder On Mac

Tip #11. Relaunch the Finder on Mac

At times, even the Finder window could freeze or crash. The most common solution is to shut down or reboot your Mac. However, you can also relaunch the Finder without shutting down by using the Force Quit Application.

Step #1. Press Command(⌘) + Option + ESC on your keyboard.

Step #2. Select Finder from the options and click on Relaunch.

Select Finder to Relauch in macOS

Step #3. Confirm the action by selecting Relaunch in the new dialogue box.

Click to Confirm Relaunch Finder in macOS

Your Finder will relaunch, without really affecting any ongoing app and saving time as well. Before you apply this solution, you might have to use Command+Tab to shift to another non-crashed window. If your Finder is still isn’t responding, here are some Finder troubleshooting tips to help you fix the issue.

Finder is indeed a treasure trove!!

Once you start exploring Finder’s features such as above, you will step up to a more user-friendly experience. Have you ever tried any of these hacks? How have you customized your Finder to fit your needs? Do you have more hacks about Finder, that you would like to share?

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Dhvanesh Adhiyahttps://www.igeeksblog.com
Dhvanesh Adhiya is the founder and editor-in-chief who takes care of audio, visual, and textual contents uploaded on iGeeksBlog.com. He is passionate about wonderful apps that change the way your iPhone interacts in your life.
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