The special All My Views view in the Finder gives you access to all of your user files in one list. You can arrange these to group them by application, size or date. You can also sort inside the groups and search to narrow down the list.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s look at the special All My Files view.

So starting with Lion we had a special view in the Finder called All My Files. You can see it right here. Now if you don’t see it go to Finder/Preferences and under that sidebar and make sure that All My Files is turned on. Once it is turned on you can select it there and switch to this view.

Now as you might guess this shows you all your files. Well not really all your files. I mean it doesn’t show you all your files on your computer. Basically it is showing you everything in your User Folder. So you are not going to see System files and Library files and things like that.

Once you are in All My Files you can switch to icon view, list view, column view or cover flow view. Column view is kind of interesting here because of course you can’t have multiple columns because this is only going to show files. Notice there are no folders here. So you only get two columns. The column with All My Files and the column with the Preview which is kind of useful.

Now things get interesting when you start to arrange by things. So you use this icon button here to arrange by or go to View/Arrange By.

So let’s select for instance Applications. So now it is very interesting because now everything here is going to be arranged by Application. Let’s switch to List View here and we can see that to start here is my GarageBand documents, iTunes, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, etc. So it is kind of interesting here to be able to divide things up and see say all my Pixelmator documents across all the folders in my user folder in one place.

Now if switch from the List View to the Icon View you get something interesting here because it is going to group them and basically put one row per group. So here is GarageBand, here is iTunes, and then it is basically give you cover flow inside of it so here is all of these sound apps here and I can scroll back and forth between them. I can go to my Pages app here and scroll back and forth and see the icons. So instead of getting a grid of icons you get this single row here that you can move through easily.

In addition you will notice that, say here are my Pages documents, you can sort these inside of this. Let’s go and do that by if I click here but instead I hold down the Option key. I’m going to hold down Option key and click and it will give me a Sort By. It is a little hard to see that that is what it is doing there. It’s is a little clearer here in View if I hold down Option key and see Arrange By changes to Sort By. I can select, it was at Last Date Opened. If I change it to Name you see now it sorts it by Name inside of that.

You can do something even more interesting. Say Sort By and then do Size. Now I can see what my largest Pages app document was. I can extend it a little bit more here and I can change what is in the View by going to Show View Options and under this I can select Size and now I see Size in this. Now I can go and see here this is my smallest document and this is my largest one at the bottom. So I can see which is the largest one here.

Another interesting way to arrange things by is to go to the Date Modified. So now I’m going to get at the top here the previous seven days, previous thirty days, and earlier than that. So I can see my most recent documents grouped together.

If I were to arrange by Size now I get a complete list broken up. So here it starts with everything 100 MB to 10 GB together. So my largest files together. Then again 1 MB to 100 MB. So it is kind of useful there to see your largest files all grouped together.

Now if I wanted to have a completely sorted list by size I can go and basically say Arrange By none there and then Sort By size. Then this gives me the largest file I’ve got here at the top and then in very quickly sorted order all the way to the smallest file.

You can also combine All My Files with Search. So for instance here I’m just looking at All My Files and I’m viewing by Arrange By/Date Modified. If I type in a search term here you can see it narrows it down to just things that match that search term. So now I can see grouped by Date Modified I can see things that have the word yellow in them. I can find this movie and find the one that I was just working on as opposed to the earlier ones.

If you are using All My Files to find something and you’ve found it but you want you want to go back to the folder that it was in so you can simply select it, do Control click or two-finger click on your track pad, and select Open Enclosing Folder and that will take you to the folder that contains that item and outside of the All My Files view.

So there is a quick look at All My Files. I hope you found that useful.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

10 Responses to “MacMost Now 868: All My Files”

  1. Steven Kay says:

    “All my files” does not appear to be available in 10.6.8.

    Is it only available on lion or mountain lion?

  2. Stuart J says:

    Very useful info, as always Gary.
    I just upgraded to 10.8 from 10.6 and have been thrown by many of the new layouts and appearance issues. Searching and the various layout/sorting options have been particularly vexing.
    Thanx for steering me to All My Files, which I hadn’t even noticed!

  3. Lou Adzima says:

    Very good! I can now see an image of what’s in the pdf’s that I have scanned.

  4. Robyn says:

    This covers exactly what I have needed to know. Thank you, Gary, for the really very helpful stuff you put out there for us. It is greatly appreciated.

  5. Susanne Maron says:

    This was great very useful, for all my different subjects now being itemised for easy reference Thank you

  6. Karen says:

    Thanks so much Gary. I could never see the point of All My Files and now it makes perfect sense.

  7. Richard Greene says:

    This finally seems to solve my search problems Gary! I find Spotlight to be rather useless – maybe I’m using it wrong but can hardly ever find anything I’m looking for with it. Your ability to provide guidance of things simple AND complex is very useful indeed.

  8. Bob says:

    Can I delete the files in “All My Files” and still retain them in their root folders? The “All My Files” folder/application only includes a portion of my database, and are certainly not all my files. My start-up disk is full and I am trying to liberate space.

    • No. Think of All My Files as a search for “all.” It is not a copy of the file, it IS the file. So if you delete it, it will be gone.

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