If you are new to Mac, then the uses for the red, yellow and green window buttons at the top left corner of every Mac window may not be obvious. The red button closes the window. The yellow button minimizes the window, placing it in the Dock. The green button can either take the window into full screen mode, or maximize the window to its logical size.
If you have a folder you need to access all the time, you can give yourself easy access to it in a number of ways. You can use the Dock, the Finder sidebar, the Finder Toolbar and an alias on the Desktop. You can also create an Automator task to open the folder and then a keyboard shortcut for that. Mission Control is another way to keep that folder easily available.
Smart Folders allow you to view collections of files that share something in common, even if they are not all stored in the same folder. You create a Smart Folder just as you would perform a Finder search. But the Smart Folder will live on as a saved search in any location you specify, or nearly the Finder sidebar. Smart Folders update automatically to include new files that meet the same criteria.
If you use Column view in the Finder, it can be useful to understand how you can right-size columns so they are exactly the width the need to be to fit the longest file name. You can also change the default size of all columns in all Finder windows.
The Trash is a temporary storage location for files you wish to delete. You can put files into the Trash in a variety of ways, and take them back out again. To delete the files, you must empty the trash. You can also set items to automatically delete after 30 days. You should never put something in the Trash unless you are absolutely sure you want to delete it forever.
You may come across instructions from time-to-time that ask you to access your Library folder on your Mac. But there are two such folders. One is in your Home folder, and the other is at the top level of your drive. These are used for different things. Most of the time, the Library folder you want is the one in your Home folder. Find out how to reveal it, even though it is hidden, and how to get to it quickly with a menu command.
If you are using iCloud Drive Documents & Desktop, then all of the files you put in those folders are uploaded to iCloud. If you have projects that you would like to only be stored locally, you can create your own folders in your Home folder for these projects. It is a good idea to create one Local Documents folder and arrange those files in there. This can come in handy for those that use large files where uploading to iCloud for those files is an issue.
You can rename a file many different ways on a Mac. In the Finder, you can click the file name after a file is selected, press the Return key, or choose File, Rename. You can also rename files in the app that you are using to view or edit it. You can click on the name in the title bar or choose File, Rename. You can rename files in the Finder or an app and the other will understand the change and follow along without a problem.
You can customize the toolbar in the Finder and many apps. You can add buttons, spaces and other controls. Some apps have a large selection of buttons you can add. You can also revert to the default set easily. See what is available in the Finder, Mail, Pages and other apps.
You can use the Finder or the System About window to quickly and easily figure out which files are taking up the most space on your drive. Either method allows you to find the files and where they are located. You can use this to find files crowding your drive that you may no longer be using.
You can use the Open With feature to open a file with something other than the default app on your Mac. You can also use Always Open With to change the default for that one file, and the Get Info window to change the default for all files of the same type.
It can take several steps to force a window on a Mac to cover the entire screen without using full screen mode. However, this one trick can get you there in a single step.
The Merge function in Sierra's Finder will allow you to merge two folders, keeping the latest versions of each file. The trick is to arrange the folders so they have the same name and use a temporary folder to place them both into.
A key skill every Mac user should master is how to select multiple items. In icon-based situations like the Finder or Keynote, you can drag a rectangle around items. In icon and list-based situations you can select multiple items using the Command and Shift keys.
There are many ways to quickly get to your most recently-opened files on your Mac. You can use the Apple Menu, the open dialog from within the app, the Dock, and also the Go menu in the Finder.
If you have a file you need to access quickly and easy every day, you may be tempted to put it on the Desktop. But you can use a variety of methods to leave the file in its proper place in your Documents folder, and still access it easily. You can place an alias on the desktop, put a shortcut to it in the Dock, or add it to one of two places in every Finder window.
You can save, rename and move files using the title bar while the file is open and you are working on it. There is no need to use the File menu for the most common file functions. You don't need to close a file to rename or move it.
If you find the Ally My Files view in the Finder to be useless, you may want to consider getting rid of it, or perhaps taming it by using the Arrange By options in the Finder. You can set the Finder so new windows show the Documents folder or somewhere else by default. You can also use Arrange By Last Opened Date to make the All My Files list something that is actually useful.
You can decide whether you want your hard drive, external drives, CDs and networked drives on your Desktop. Some users prefer to not have these items on the Desktop since they are easy to access through the Finder. Others may find they miss these but don't know how to get them back.
Figuring out what you have on your hard drive that takes up a lot of space is simple if you know how to view the contents of your drive. You can use the List view and View Options to easily see which major folders use a lot of space, and then continue to dig down to see what inside those folders is using the space.
You can search in the Finder for files by file extension instead of content or full file name. If you do this often, you can save the search for easy access in the left sidebar of the Finder window. You can then simply adjust the extension each time you do a search.
You can easily snap the sides and corners of windows to the edges of the screen. This helps if you like to keep multiple windows arranged neatly on your desktop.
If you use Mission Control, you can assign an app to a specific desktop so when you launch it it automatically appears on that desktop instead of the current desktop. You can also assign an app to appear on all desktops, which is handy for note-taking and other tasks.
You can alter the creation date of a file using the touch command in the Terminal. This can come in handy if you want to export a photo and have the creation date match the date the photo was taken.
Look at two methods for making your Mac folders stand out. You can easily add emoji characters to folder names to give them some color and symbolism. You can also easily change the folder icon to any image, including readily-available icons from the web.
A small but useful new feature in macOS Sierra will automatically delete items in your Trash that have been there for more than 30 days. This could be useful for most Mac users, especially if you often run out of drive space. It can also help those who maintain Macs for others.
You can quickly and easily create compressed disk images from folders to archive projects. The resulting disk image saves space, reduces clutter and hides the files from searches. You can also encrypt the disk images to secure the files.
You can set a file to be Locked or to be a Stationery Pad, but it can be hard to understand what these settings do. Locked files are not protected or encrypted in any way. Instead, they are simply harder to accidentally change or delete. Stationery Pads are files that act like simple templates.
Take a look at 10 Finder tricks that will help you get the most from your Mac. Learn how to batch rename files, move files with copy and paste, skip the Trash and much more.
When you need to upload a photo to a web page, you are first given the option to select a file. But you can use the Media, Photos option to instead select a photo from your Photos Library. This saves you the steps of needing to export the photo and then delete the file later.