Finder secrets you probably don’t know about on the Apple Mac

Hidden secrets of Finder in OS X on the Apple Mac

How well do you know your Mac? Are you familiar with Finder? Here is a little trick that you might not be aware of and it can provide access to some useful functions. It takes seconds to learn.

Do you know about the Option key trick to show hidden menus and functions? Open almost any app and display one of the menus. With a menu showing on the menu bar, hold down the Option key and some of the menus switch to something different.

You can open a Finder window, select a file, click the File menu and press Option to see a different set of menu functions. Most people know that trick and it is fairly common. That’s not the subject of this article.

What you may not have realised is that you can do the Option key trick with context menus - the menu you get when an item is right clicked.

Here is an example and three files have been selected, then they have been right clicked. Take a look at the menu that is displayed.

The right click context menu in Finder in OS X on the Apple Mac

Hold down Option and notice how several of the menus change to something different.

The right click context menu in Finder in OS X on the Apple Mac

Open With enables you to select which application you want to use to open a file. This is fine if you want to use a different file to the default - the one that is used if you double click a file.

Hold down Option and this menu becomes Always Open With. Select an application and it will become the new default and files of that type will always be opened with it. This is a useful shortcut to changing the default app for a file type.

Get Info shows an information window that provides details about a file, such as its size, date, kind, permissions and so on.

Hold down Option and this becomes Show Inspector. What’s that?

If you select multiple files and click Get Info then an info window for each file is displayed. Select three files and three info windows open for example.

Hold down Option and click Show Inspector and a single window opens that shows information common to all three files. It shows the total file size for example. It is very different and sometimes useful. For example, when selected files to be emailed you can easily get a total size, so you know whether it is too much.

Quick look is a useful feature for looking at the contents of files without opening them. One file can be selected and then Quick Look used to view the contents, such as a photo, in a large window.

Multiple items can be viewed using Quick Look too. You get a thumbnail view that displays all the files and you can view each one selected.

Hold down option and the menu becomes Slideshow x Items. Select half a dozen images for example, right click, hold down option and you can select Slideshow. The images are shown one at a time in a slide show.

The last item that changes is Copy x Items. Select three files, right click and select Copy 3 items. You can then go to another folder using Finder and press Command+V to paste them in.

Hold down Option and the menu becomes Copy x Items as Pathnames. The files are not copied. Instead you get a text string for each file showing its location on the disk. That can be useful if are writing something and want to refer to a file on the disk. You can copy the pathname and past it in the document, note, message or email.

 

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