MacMost Now 37: Finder Hints and Shortcuts

Gary Rosenzweig takes a look at the Leopard finder and discovers some handy functionality and shortcuts.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 37: Finder Hints and Shortcuts.

Hi this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. Now I had the idea this morning of doing a quick tutorial on doing finder windows. Just how to get around them. I thought maybe some Mac beginners could get some tips on how to use the finder windows and view their files and folders. What I didn't expect was to learn a few things myself. Lets take a look at this tutorial where I show you some basic, quick little ways to get around to the finder, and some keyboard shortcuts. First, lets take a look at the finder window and some of the basics. There are four different ways to view files in the finder window. You can do it by icons like this, click here and do it by column view; in column view you have these little triangles that you can turn on and look to see what's inside the different folders. My favorite is column view; you can quickly navigate back and forth between things and you can use the arrow keys which is what I'm doing now. Left to go back, right, up and down. And then you can do the cover flow view, which is kind of like iTunes. Now one of the basic handy things about the finder window is the places section right here. You can actually add your own things to this. So for instance, if this projects folder is something we want to go to often, we can simply drag it here, or use command T to move it there. And we drop it in there and now all we have to do is click on projects and we instantly go there in any finder window. To get rid of something out of the sidebar tab here all we need to do is drag it out. Now, once your inside one of these folders, thats indicated here in the sidebar there is no way to navigate back, you can't go back or up so if you want to actually get up what you need to do is you need to click here at the top where the name of the window is and you can actually go up to any level you want or open a new window for you. Another really cool feature of finder windows is they act kind of like web browsers with forward and back buttons. You can see them right here. So for instance if I go into project one, into the art folder, and then I look into the sound folder, I can actually reverse those steps. I can go back, and back and this will work even if I go and I say go to the desktop from there and I want to go back to what I was looking at last time. So its really handy if you mistakingly go to another folder or another place on your drive and you want to get back to your last view you can use one of these two buttons here to go back and forth. You can also use command and the right bracket or command and the left bracket as shortcut keys for these. Anybody that works in a windowed operating system like Mac Os knows that after a while you might have a whole bunch of windows opened so its really useful to know how to close them easily. Of course you can hit the red X button here. Hitting the minus button, the yellow one, will actually minimize it and stick it into the dock so its easy to get back but its not taking any screen real estate. And the plus button will make the screen as big as possible, taking up as much screen real estate as possible. However you can also do shortcuts. For the close you can just simply do Command W. So command W with you keyboard, and the window goes away. Option plus command W will close all the windows in the finder. And you can also hold down the option key and click on any of those red X's in the upper left hand corner of the windows to do the same. And also holding the option key and hitting the minus will minimize all the windows in the finder. Now if you prefer to type on a keyboard rather than click a mouse you can actually navigate through the finder quite easily with commands like command shift G. This will bring up this little window here, and you can type in a full path directory. Usually starting with the word user and your username. And then you can do like documents, and projects. Project one, art. And it goes right to that folder. There are also some handy keyboard shortcuts for taking you to common folders on your drive. For instance, command shift plus H will take you to your home folder. Command shift plus A takes you to your applications folder and command shift plus U will take you to the utilities folder. Now, to quickly open a new finder window all you need to do is do command n and that will open a new finder window, and now you have two. You can also command plus shift plus N and that will create a new folder. Right there. And thats a very useful thing to, get rid of that folder or to get rid of any file, you can select it and hit command delete and it moves it to the trash. A lot easier than dragging it all the way there. Now finding out information about your files is pretty important. For instance if you have a simple text file here you click on it, you can see a preview here to the right and command Y will quickly open up a little preview window for you; I will shrink it down for you so you can see it so you can see what's inside. This will work for images, text documents and all sorts of different things. I'll give you a quick preview. Also in the regular list view you can see a lot of information about it. You can move these lines over to actually bring it into view. You can see the size, the kind, all that. Hitting command J will bring a preferences window open and that will allow you to add things like version numbers and comments to your list. Well thats not all there's a lot of other cool finder shortcuts out there. If you know of any that I didn't mention, I'd love to here about it. Why don't you leave it as a comment to this post at the site. So if you're watching this video at another site go to and take a look at the video there. Add some comments; maybe we'll get a huge list of all the different shortcuts because I know there are some that are pretty undocumented. Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 37: Finder Hints and Shortcuts”

    11 years ago

    Thanks for taking the time to create this!

    One minor nit: In discussing the various Finder views in the beginning, LIST view (cmd-2) is inadvertently referred to as COLUMN view (cmd-3) — twice.

    For Quick Look, I find hitting the space bar easier than using cmd-Y (though I still need to remember cmd-Y so I can remember cmd-shift-Y for full-screen mode).

    Amazing how many different entries show up when searching Help for “shortcut”. :)

    11 years ago

    Awww was about to say the quick look thing Dx.

    Well, at least to open up a doc, app, anything really, you can also press command + down arrow, instead of clicking ( i find it easier since i work on a macbook).

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    8 years ago

    The key word for me as Glen says is “remember” I do not even no where i put my glasses. I just use Finder, and use the one window that comes up,and in the side bar is all the main topics. There is no Hash key on the keyboard,and i wanted to find out how you get it because it was in an email. I found out it was Option-3# To be quite honest i hardly use Shortcut keys. As i said my memory is failing, and i am coming up to 63yrs now. I will keep watching for the really handy ones. Thanks Gary

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    8 years ago

    I have been checking my keyboard out. I live in the UK, and i have compared my keyboard to the one on the Apple site, UK and USA. My keyboard is different. I can just mention one off hand is the shift key below the caps lock. This is only a small key, but when i have looked at the others its large. I know a lot of people have been complaining about the numerical part that was left off, hence the small keyboard.

Comments Closed.