It’s disappointing that Snow Leopard doesn’t promise many major new Finder features, but with the right tweaks and plug-ins, you can make browsing files on your Mac significantly better.
Image by nono34.
Short of purchasing a licence for the excellent Path Finder, you can customise Leopard’s built-in file manager with just a little effort. Here are a few of my favourite Finder tweaks. (Note: All of these apply to 10.5 Leopard for sure; I did not test them on Tiger or Panther.)
Reveal and Navigate File Paths
The main thing Finder doesn’t do well out of the box is show you where the folder you’re browsing is located in your file system, and give you easy access to its parent and grandparent folders. Some usability experts might argue that the common user doesn’t need or want to know what the full file path is; but most power users do. Here are a few ways to see where you are and navigate easily.
These two methods give you interactive buttons for navigating paths, but if you just want to see where you are in the filesystem, you can also show a folder’s full path in Finder’s title bar by running this Terminal command:
defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES
Enhance Quick Look
You already know and love Quick Look, the spacebar-tapping way to instantly preview a file’s contents. Two plug-ins make Quick Look even better.
Assign Custom Drive Icons
Easily Show/Hide “dot” Files
Add Separators to Finder’s Sidebar
Show Item Info
This rundown just scratches the surface of what all you can do with Finder. A few other tricks pulled from our archives include:
What are your essential Finder tweaks? Tell us about ’em in the comments.
Gina Trapani, Lifehacker’s founding editor, still wants tabs in Finder. Her feature Smarterware appears every week on Lifehacker.