Customize Your Mac’s ‘Finder’ so It Shows You the Things You Actually Need

Written by Khamosh Pathak From Lifehacker
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Finder is your pathway to all the files on your Mac. Sure, you could (and should) use Spotlight to quickly find and open files. But when it comes to actually managing and working with files, folders, and documents, the Finder app is essential—especially since none of use know how to create a folder hierarchy anymore.

Finder does a really good job of helping you organize files. But there are certain things about it that could be improved. What if every new Finder window didn’t open to display the Recents folder? What if you could easily see the detailed path for a given folder? Well, you can: Here’s how to customize what you see in the Finder app.

How to customize the sidebar in Finder

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

The sidebar is where you’ll probably start interacting with the Finder, so you should take some time to add the things you want to see there and remove what’s cluttering it up.

Go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar. From here, select the things that you want to show or hide. For example, you can remove the Tags section, limit the Locations items, and prune down the Favorites section.

After you have done that, navigate to some of your frequently used folders and drag them to the Favorites section so you’ll always be able to access them easily.

How to change the start folder for Finder

The Finder launches with the Recents folder ready to go. This may not be useful for you—if you store all your files in the Downloads or Documents folder, it might be better to use one of those as a starting point.

Go to Finder > Preferences > General > New Finder Windows Show. Here, choose any folder to serve as the default when you open a new Finder window.

How to show the path bar in Finder

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

The path bar is a feature that every Finder user should enable. It gives you a sense of where exactly you are in a file directory. Go to View > Show Path Bar to enable it.

You’ll now see the path for every folder at the bottom of the Finder window. You can click on any folder from the path to navigate to it. You can also quickly copy the full pathname. by -clicking on a folder from the path, and choosing the “Copy as Pathname” option.

If you don’t want to always see the file path, you can choose to display it selectively; just right-click on the file or folder name at the top of your Finder window to see a list of all the folders or files your current file/folder stems from.

How to show the status bar in Finder

By default, the status bar in Finder only does two things: It shows you how many items there are in a folder (and how many are selected), and how much space is left on your Mac. That’s generally good info to have, however, so it’s worth it to spend a little bit of space to enable it at the bottom of the Finder window. To do so, go to View > Show Status Bar.

How to customize the Finder toolbar

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

You can customize the Finder toolbar just like you can the one in Safari. Right-click in the empty space in the Finder toolbar, and choose the “Customize Toolbar” option.

Here, you can rearrange the elements, or drag or remove elements from the top. (Adding buttons for “Delete” and “New Folder” will be really helpful.)

How to increase the font size in Finder

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

If you using a 13-inch MacBook Air, you might find it difficult to view a long list of file names. Try increasing the font size for the Finder app. To do this, go to View > Show View Options, and from the “Text Size” option, bump the text size up to a reasonable number (16 is probably a good choice).

Open new folders in windows instead of tabs

Finder now has tabs, just like Safari. And by default, it will open now folders in tabs instead of in new windows when you double-click while holding the Command key.

To revert back to the old behavior, and open new folders as separate Finder windows, go to Finder > Preferences and uncheck the “Open folders in tabs instead of new windows” option.

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