Every new version of OS X adds some enhancements and changes, and Mountain Lion is no exception. The Finder (the app you use to manage your files and folders) has seen some important changes to the way it works. They’re all designed to make it easier for you to use your Mac, and some will hit you at once if you’ve used previous versions of OS X, but not all are immediately obvious. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the new features in Finder and why you’ll find them usefull.
Finder is always running on your Mac – its smiley face icon, which resides at the left-hand end of your Dock, has been a key component of the Mac desktop since the 1980s. Clicking this icon brings any Finder windows you’ve got open to the front or, if don’t have any open, will open a new window. You can any specify which window this is by default: we’ll show you how in step 2 opposite.
To alter the look of Finder, your windows, folders and icons, there are a couple of places you need to know about. First is Finder’s preferences, which you can access by going to Preferences in the Finder menu or pressing Command + Coma (,). The second is View > Show View Option (Command + J), and the third is the General pane in System Preferences, which you access via the Apple menu.
Also remember that the toolbar across the top of all Finder windows can be customised. Right-click it, select Customise Toolbar… and you can drag new buttons onto it. Note in particular the Label menu, which lets you mark a file or folder in a certain colour, which is a handy addition.
You can change what will appear in the sidebar of your Finder windows, but it can vary anyway. take AirDrop as a prime example. This is one of the headline features in OS X, designed to make sharing files between nearby Macs as simple as dragging and dropping. It’s amazing, but there are a few caveats. First, it works only on newer Mac models (for a list of this, visit bit.ly/airdrop). If you haven’t got one of these, its icon won’t be there.
Second, the AirDrop windows need to be open on both Macs; you bring it up by clicking AirDrop in the Finder sidebar or by pressing Command + Up + R. Compatible nearby Macs with their AirDrop window open will then also appear here, and you send files by dragging them onto the appropriate icon. When someone sends you a file, you are asked if you want to accept it; if you do, it’s saved to the Downloads folder (which you access via the Go menu or by pressing Command + Shift + L).
Read on for other new features, including how to group files quickly into a folder, copy them and more.
How To FInd Out The New Finder Features
- New Sidebar > As well as appearing in a different order, sidebar icons are bigger than before. Alter their size in the System Preferences > General pane using the “Sidebar icon size” drop-down. To set what’s in the sidebar, tick items in Finder > Preferences > Sidebar.
- All My Files > Click to view all the files in your Home folder. By default, they’re sorted by category: to change this, click the item Arrangement toolbar button. By default, opening a new window also shows “All My Files”. Alter this in Finder > Preferences > General.
- Group Files Into A Folder > Want to move some files into a folder fast? Select them by dragging across their icons (or click the first, then hold Command and click each additional file in turn), then right-click and choose New Folder with Selection. Type a name, Press Enter and you’re done.
- Better Copying > Previously, when you tried to copy a file into a folder containing another file with the same name, you had to choose between the two. Now you can keep both. If you click Keep both Files, one will have “copy” added to its name, so that the two can co-exist.
- Replacing Folders > In OS X Lion, if you copied a folder to somewhere with a folder with the same name you could then choose Keep Both Folders. This has been removed in Mountain Lion: You get just the option to Replace instead. hold Shift when dragging to duplicate a folder.
- Better Search > Start typing into the Search bar at the top of a Finder window and suggestions appear below. Click one of these and your result are filtered so that they contain only items that match that criterion. Say we want to look for a file: we can’t remember what it’s called but we know it was emailed to us by Steve Jobs. We type “Jobs” into the Search bar, and one of the suggestions under Sent By is “Steve Jobs”.We then click this, making it a so-called token, so that the results show only files sent to us by Steve. We now add more words to the Search to refine it, and soon find the file we’re after. You can add multiple tokens, and remove them again by clicking them and pressing Right (?).