MacMost Now 506: Finder View Basics

Learn how to use all four Finder view types: Icons, List, Columns, and Cover Flow. Each has its own uses and options.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 506: Finder View Basics.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's take a closer look at Finder Views. So when viewing a folder in the finder, there are four primary views. You can get to them all by using the buttons at the top of the screen. This one is the icon view and it's the first button here. I can switch to list view, then I can switch to column view and then, finally, cover flow view.
Now in the first one, icon view, you can change the size of the icons by using the slider at the bottom right. So I can increase it or decrease it. Now for these documents, it doesn't make much difference but if these were images, you could actually see the image, get a little preview of what the file contains before you open it.
Now in icon view, I can go to view and arrange by and change the order in which they are presented, so I can change it to date modified here and you can see they all moved around. Now I can still move these icons around a little bit and put them wherever I want. If I want to clean them up and get them basically aligned into a grid, I make sure none of them are selected and I go to view cleanup and it will put them all into grid formation. You can see that this one was all the way down here, so it pushed it down into this grid alignment. I can simply move it up here, do view clean up selection because I have one selected and it will put it in its place.
Now if I really mess things up, I probably, instead of using clean up, just want to go arrange by and it will sort them again and put them in the grid starting at the upper left. Now let's say I'm inside a folder and I want to arrange photos, put a bunch off to the side here and highlight this one. It'll remember these positions. If I go to list view and I can sort it here and do whatever I want with it but I go back to icon view and you can see it remembers where it put these. So unless I do cleanup or arrange again, it will keep these in this position.
Now, in list view, you can adjust the columns by dragging the edges of the column here to change the width of them. You can also sort. You can see that little triangle there pointing up, that's ascending order for the name column. I can click it again to get descending order or I could, say, click another column to get ascending or descending for the information in that column there.
It's common to have a folder where you always want to see the most recent item at the top. In that case, you definitely want to sort by date modified with the most recent one at the top. That way, no matter what you add to this folder, the most recent item will always be there at the top.
Column view is my favorite because it allows you to navigate up and down in folders. So I can see the containing folder of this here and, say, jump to another one very easily and go back and forth. So it allows you to view multiple folders very quickly.
Here I am in the column view and I can see that the picture here I've selected, not only it show s me a preview here to the right, but gives me basic information about it, say, the dimensions and the kind of image.
So cover flow view is the same as list view except you've got this preview here at the top, with a 3-D effect. It makes it quite easy to scan through documents, say, like photos or videos and pick the one you want. Now you can also change views by going to the view menu and you can see those same four views here. In addition, you've got some extra things, most notably the show view options. That brings up this little options panel here and, as I change views, the options panel itself will change along with it. So if I change to icon view, you can see it changes to give me grid spacing and size, label position, all sorts of different things.
If I change to list view, I get which columns are being shown. Column view, I get a few extra things here as well. And you can see, cover flow view, I get basically the same as the list view since it's very similar. Notice also at the top, there's a check box here for always open in list view so it'll set this folder so it remembers that you like to see it in a certain view.
Now your desktop is just like any other folder except that it's always in icon view. So think of it as a folder that encompasses the entire size of your desktop and it's always there. So you can move these around, you can use view clean up selection, you can clean up the entire thing but instead of aligning, starting with the top left, it's going to start with the upper right, which is more typical for the desktop, you'd have stuff in the upper right first. And you can change the view options with view, and show view options here and change the icon size.
So there's a look at Finder View basics. 'Til next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 7 Responses to “MacMost Now 506: Finder View Basics”

    Jacqui Cyrus
    8 years ago

    This is a great post to be used at the beginning of the semester. This link will be given to my beginning undergraduates.



    Claire Gehrett
    8 years ago

    Well, I’m just learning my Mac but I don’t understand this at all. Where do I find “finder view basics”?


      8 years ago

      Not sure what you are asking. “Finder View Basics” is the name of the video at the top of this page. Is there something else you are looking for?

    Claire Gehrett
    8 years ago

    OK – understood…… boy am I stupid… Sorry for the inconvenience.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    8 years ago

    If you right click any where on the the screen the finder options is at the bottom of the list. Don`t worry Claire i am just behind you. I look at Garys videos pretty regularly,because you just can`t watch it once and expect to be an expert straight away. This might help a bit instead of keep getting Garys videos out, and the bit you want to know is in the middle or near the end. I take a screen shot of the part i want off Garys videos. You can use the VLC player to do this,but this is visual thing to look at Garys images. I find this very useful

    7 years ago

    Is there a way to toggle all folders open/shut at once in list view? Currently I’m clicking every little triangle…

      7 years ago

      Hold down the option key when you click a triangle.

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