MacMost Now 178: Hidden Finder Menu Choices

If you hold down the Option key while selecting menus in the Finder, you'll find some hidden functions.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary, with MacMost Now. Today let's look at how the option key affects the menus in the finder.
So people sometimes ask me how I find out about all these neat little Mac tricks. Well, the secret is experimentation. A lot of times, I'll just simply hold down a different key, like the "option" key, or "command" key while selecting a menu item or button. For instance, if you hold down the "option" key in the Finder, while selecting menus, some of the menu items change. Let's go and take a look at what changes and what new things you can do.
So for instance, let's take the Apple menu. Now when you click and hold down on the Apple menu, this is what you get. But, if you hold down the "option" key while doing that, things change. Now, instead of "About this Mac," you've got a link to the System Profiler as the first option. In addition, the Restart, Shutdown and Log Out buttons now happen automatically-- there's no little dot dot dot which indicates that you're going to be shown warnings and additional dialog options about what to do.
Also, if you press the "shift" key, instead of the "option" key, then Force Quit changes to Force Quit the current Application. In other words, instead of having to go to a special window that shows you all of the Applications and choose one to Force Quit, you just immediately Force Quit the Application you're running right now.
The Finder menu will also change when you hold down the option key. Instead of Empty Trash and Secure Empty Trash, we now get rid of the dot dot dot dialogs and warnings that follow them, and you can just basically hold down the "option" key and select one of these to do it immediately. Now notice how the shortcuts changed for Empty Trash when I held down the "option" key. This also gives you a clue as to what keyboard shortcuts you can use in addition to the ones you see normally in the Finder. So, for instance, we could have done, Command and Shift and Delete to empty the trash, or, in this case, Command, Shift, Option and Delete to immediately empty the trash, without warnings.
Now in the Finder menu, when you hold down the option key, the Open With changes to Always Open With, so you can quickly set the Application to open a document each and every time. Also, notice that the Close Window changed to Close All, and you can use a keyboard shortcut that's indicated there to reproduce Close All without even going to the menu.
In the Edit menu, you'll see that Select All changes to Deselect All. In the View menu, Cleanup will change to Cleanup just the selected items. Also, you'll notice that the Arrange By changes to Keep Arranged by.
So also in the Go menu, when you hold down the CTRL-- the Control key, then the enclosing folder option changes to enclosing folder in this window. In other words, instead of opening up the enclosing folder in a new window, it stays in the same place.
In the Window menu, Minimize changes to Minimize All. But more interestingly, the Bring to Front changes to Arrange in Front. What that does is something a little different. It actually takes all the windows in your Finder, brings them to the front, and arranges them neatly stacked from the upper left corner going diagonally down. This could be really useful if your Finder windows have gotten a little bit out of control.
So that's a quick look at what happens in the Finder if you hold down the Option key or sometimes some other keys. Now look at some of the other Mac Applications. Look in Safari, look in Mail. Just go through the menus and press and release the option key, the shift key, the control key, the command key, and sometimes you'll see menu option change and new menu functions that you didn't even know exist will appear.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: One Response to “MacMost Now 178: Hidden Finder Menu Choices”

    Fred Wonderling
    12/31/08 @ 1:54 am

    I wish you would eliminate the “start/restart” mac sound from your videos.

    It always gives me that uneasy feeling that my mac has crashed and is restarting.

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