Mac OS X Lion Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Touring the Finder


Mac OS X Lion Essential Training

with Christopher Breen

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Video: Touring the Finder

Let's take a tour of the Finder. The Finder is an application like any other application on your Mac. The difference is the Finder is your way of looking at the contents of your Mac and interacting with the interface. And we know that Finder is active, because up here at the top of the menu bar we see Finder. Whenever you have an active application you will see its name right here next to the Apple menu. Now let's create a new Finder window so that we can examine the way it works.
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  1. 1m 26s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 4m 42s
    1. Installing Lion
      4m 42s
  3. 44m 44s
    1. Touring the Finder
      10m 19s
    2. Launching and working with apps
      4m 22s
    3. Sorting and starting apps with Launchpad
      3m 13s
    4. Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
      4m 35s
    5. Using trackpad gestures
      8m 22s
    6. Using mouse gestures
      2m 22s
    7. Understanding file saving in Lion
      4m 35s
    8. Using Text to Speech
      3m 9s
    9. Installing software
      3m 47s
  4. 26m 51s
    1. Personalizing the interface
      7m 31s
    2. Staying current with Software Update
      4m 13s
    3. Configuring Mail, Address Book, and iCal
      5m 2s
    4. Setting up printers
      3m 39s
    5. Backing up with Time Machine
      6m 26s
  5. 10m 49s
    1. Finding files with Spotlight
      5m 16s
    2. Digging deeper with Finder searches
      5m 33s
  6. 39m 6s
    1. Configuring basic personal preferences
      11m 14s
    2. Optimizing Mission Control preferences
      3m 42s
    3. Configuring basic Audio and Video preferences
      4m 34s
    4. Adjusting Input Device preferences
      7m 45s
    5. Configuring Bluetooth input devices
      2m 36s
    6. Modifying Date & Time Preferences
      2m 38s
    7. Getting on the internet
      3m 56s
    8. Using an alternate startup disk
      2m 41s
  7. 3m 22s
    1. Understanding Dashboard widgets
      3m 22s
  8. 23m 20s
    1. Navigating the interface
      6m 30s
    2. Filtering junk mail and sorting messages with rules
      4m 22s
    3. Scheduling appointments with iCal
      6m 38s
    4. Organizing contacts with Address Book
      5m 50s
  9. 37m 5s
    1. Basic word processing in TextEdit
      7m 56s
    2. Using Dictionary
      2m 51s
    3. Preview: Working with images
      6m 20s
    4. Preview: Working with PDFs
      6m 13s
    5. Installing and managing fonts
      5m 37s
    6. Creating quick notes using Stickies
      3m 24s
    7. Using Calculator
      4m 44s
  10. 34m 27s
    1. Navigating the web
      4m 49s
    2. Working with bookmarks
      7m 15s
    3. Adding and reading RSS feeds
      2m 38s
    4. Using Reading List
      3m 7s
    5. Saving web pages and creating web clips
      1m 15s
    6. Using Safari to search the web
      3m 13s
    7. Opening local files in Safari
      2m 33s
    8. Working with Safari's preferences
      4m 33s
    9. Configuring privacy settings
      5m 4s
  11. 13m 45s
    1. Playing media
      9m 3s
    2. Recording
      4m 42s
  12. 18m 26s
    1. Video chatting in FaceTime
      5m 26s
    2. Text and video messaging in iChat
      9m 6s
    3. Shooting videos and pictures in Photo Booth
      3m 54s
  13. 12m 46s
    1. Automating complex tasks
      12m 46s
  14. 13m 55s
    1. Monitoring system performance
      3m 20s
    2. Setting up a Windows installation in Boot Camp
      3m 49s
    3. Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
      6m 46s
  15. 15m 55s
    1. Understanding sharing
      4m 59s
    2. Sharing files on a network
      3m 23s
    3. Screen sharing with a remote computer
      4m 7s
    4. Sending files with AirDrop
      3m 26s
  16. 38m 47s
    1. Modifying Language & Text settings
      6m 38s
    2. Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
      6m 24s
    3. Configuring access for for the disabled
      7m 23s
    4. Using Energy Saver
      4m 42s
    5. Adding and changing users
      6m 19s
    6. Configuring Parental Controls
      7m 21s
  17. 18m 33s
    1. Preventive measures: Creating a Lion boot drive
      7m 40s
    2. Understanding and configuring permissions
      3m 6s
    3. Troubleshooting techniques
      7m 47s
  18. 6m 11s
    1. Techniques for using the Mac efficiently
      5m 22s
    2. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Mac OS X Lion Essential Training
6h 4m Beginner Sep 13, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Macworld senior editor Christopher Breen provides a comprehensive overview of Mac OS X Lion, complete with insider tips for getting the most out of the operating system. The course shows how to configure system preferences, personalize the interface, and master gestures, as well as achieve fluency with applications such as Mail, iCal, and Preview. The course also includes tutorials on browsing the web with Safari, automating complex tasks with Automator, sharing over a network, and performing maintenance operations using the disk utility, along with timesaving techniques for using the Mac efficiently.

Topics include:
  • Migrating to Lion
  • Launching and working with applications
  • Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
  • Using Text-to-Speech
  • Searching with Spotlight
  • Backing up with Time Machine
  • Configuring wireless Bluetooth input devices
  • Staying current with Software Update
  • Understanding the Dashboard widgets
  • Filtering junk mail and sorting messages with rules in Mail
  • Playing and recording media with QuickTime
  • Video chatting with FaceTime
  • Monitoring system performance
  • Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
  • Screen sharing with a remote computer
  • Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
  • Troubleshooting techniques
Mac OS X
Christopher Breen

Touring the Finder

Let's take a tour of the Finder. The Finder is an application like any other application on your Mac. The difference is the Finder is your way of looking at the contents of your Mac and interacting with the interface. And we know that Finder is active, because up here at the top of the menu bar we see Finder. Whenever you have an active application you will see its name right here next to the Apple menu. Now let's create a new Finder window so that we can examine the way it works.

At the very top left corner of any Finder window you have will be three buttons. There's the red button, the yellow button, and the green button. The red button closes the window. Good bye, window! So now we have to make a new window. The yellow button minimizes the window so that it goes down into the dock, which is at the bottom of the Mac. So I would click the yellow button and there it goes. It's minimized. To bring it back, simply click on it and back it comes.

This is one way to get rid of the clutter on your desktop. Here is a cute trick, hold down the Shift key and click on the yellow minimize button. Ooo, slow mo! And to bring it back up in the slow mo, I hold down the Shift key, click on the minimized window and ooo, again! That leaves us with a green zoom button. A third one, and honestly its behavior changes depending on the contents of the Window. So let's make this window wider.

I will click on the green button and it makes it smaller. I will click again and it restores to the original position. Let's change it again. I am going to make it quite thin. Look, it makes it longer this time. And I click green again at it's back to its original position. I urge you to try this on your own. Some programs, what the green button will do is actually expand the window to full screen or nearly full screen, and click it again, and it restores it to its original position.

So again, it depends on the context to the window and the application you're using. Let's take a look at the sidebar. In the sidebar are favorite items. These are locations that you are going to visit fairly routinely. By default you see all my files, let's expand that window, and these are organized by the kinds of files that you have, but you can change that. Applications folder, these are the applications on your computer. I am showing you some that are on this computer that will not be on your computer necessarily.

Files on the Desktop, we don't have anything on the desktop. So there is nothing there. Contents of your Documents folder. Downloads, if you have downloaded anything via Safari are going to appear in this folder, and you have other common locations such as Movies, Music, and Pictures. So how do you add something to the sidebar? That's fairly simple. First thing I am going to do is I am going to click on the Desktop, so I am outside of this window. Now the desktop is active. I am going to create a new folder on the desktop. To do that, File > New Folder. This is also Shift+Command+M, which is a shortcut worth knowing. And here's my new folder on the desktop.

The name is highlighted. I can change the name when it has that highlight and Return. Here is a cool shortcut for renaming folders or files. Select the item, tap the Return key, and you get the highlight. Return, and it's named. Now I want to add this to the sidebar. Drag it over to the sidebar and you see this blue line indicating where it's going to go on the list. I am going to put it right under Applications and here it is.

Currently there's nothing in there, but you notice that it hasn't moved from the desktop. That's still where it's located. This is just a shortcut over here in the sidebar. I don't want this thing anymore, so I am going to throw it in the Trash. And to do that select it, drag it down to the Trash, and the window closes and the item is in the Trash. To empty the Trash, I go to the Finder menu, choose Empty Trash, shortcut is Shift+Command+Delete.

It will check with me, are you sure you want to empty the Trash? Yes indeed I do. I click Empty Trash and the Trash is empty. Now let's open the Finder window. Where is the shortcut? Why, it's gone. And why is it gone? Because I threw away that folder. So I don't need a shortcut, because the folder is gone. Now let's take a look up in the menus. The File menu at least here in the Finder is for doing things as I have shown you.

New Finder Window, New Folder, New Smart Folder, which is something we are going to look at smart items in another movie. You can open things from here, you can close things, you can Get Info, again, some of the stuff we are going to look at in other movies. Then there is the Edit menu. This is where you find common commands, such as Cut, Copy, Paste and Select. Now let's look at some of the symbols here. Next to this A is this symbol here. It's called a number of different things, but the official name for it is Command. This is the Command key.

This appears next to the spacebar, both on the left and on the right on standard keyboards. The arrow up symbol indicates the Shift key. Let's go back to the File menu for a second and look for a new symbol. Under New Smart Folder, you see this symbol here which looks kind of like a slide with a little line above. That stands for the Option key. On the standard keyboard, the Option key is just to the left of the Command key. Now I am going to hold down the Control key, which is the last key on the bottom row at the very left, and you see this symbol right here, which is this caret key key or this triangle key, and that stands for the Control key.

Let's go the View menu. In the View menu, you are going to find a list of ways to sort items in a window, as Icons, as List, as Columns, and as Cover Flow. Now rather than do that from a menu, I am going to actually do it in the Window. So right now we are in Icon view. Here is List view, and you see it takes all the files there and puts them in this nice convenient list. This is called Column view. So within Column view you have a hierarchy. So let's go to Applications. I will select a folder and you see we start marching through the hierarchy.

So this is the contents of this Adobe folder. AdobePatchFiles. Again, we keep marching through the hierarchy as we go to the right. And then there is Cover Flow view. This is something that came out of iTunes originally, and the idea is that you have your files here at the top of the window and by dragging, you can scroll through little previews, and as you do, the largest icon is highlighted below in the list. Next to this is a Tools menu.

Common commands are found here, Open, Open With, Open Enclosing Folder, move items to the Trash and so on. And then you can organize things within a list by various criteria. So let's go to List view. Currently files are organized by Kind, but I can organize them by Name if I like, by Application, Date Added, Date Modified, Date Created and so on. A few more menu commands. The Go menu is helpful for going to common places on your Mac.

So for example if I wanted to go to the Documents folder, I click on Go, choose Documents and here is the contents of my Document's folder. Back to the Go menu. I can go to other places like my User folder for example. That's Home, here is my User folder, I can view it in List, and use various views. Here's another little trick. While you're in the Go menu, hold down the Option key and you'll notice that a new item appears in this list. This is the Library folder that appears within your user's folder.

Well, where is that? Here I will show you. Here is the Library. Now how can you tell where you are? Here is cool little trick. You click on the folder that's at the top of the window and hold down the Command key and you see the hierarchy. This is the path to this folder. So I'm in the Library folder that's within my User folder, which is within the Users folder, which is also within the Hard Drive on my Macintosh. So that's how you find the path. Now above that Library folder. Again, when you click on the Go menu, you don't see it.

It's hidden by default and the reason is that most people don't need to get to the Library folder. This holds settings that most people don't need to mess around with. However, if you're a more advanced user, you may want to go to this folder and one easy way to get there, is again, to hold down the Option button and then you can get to the Library folder. The Windows menu will show you the name of any windows that happened to be open within a specific application. So let's suppose that we have TextEdit running for example and I've got five different documents.

The names of those documents will appear within this menu. Currently we just have the one window open and so that's the only name we find here. And then there is the Help menu, which is actually quite helpful. One of the nice things you can do here is search for commands that are buried in a menu somewhere. So let's enter Copy. The first item there where it says Menu Items indicates that there is a command that contains the word copy. I select it and this helpful blue arrow appears and shows me exactly where that command is.

So if you have a program that has lots and lots of menu and lots of commands within those menus, and you need to find the command, this is one cool way to find it. Then if you're looking for something in Apple's online help, you can also select one of Help topics. The Help viewer will open and it will show you the information you are looking for. Close the Help menu, and close our window here, and that's the basics of the Finder. Later in the course, I am going to show you how to configure the Finder so it better suits your needs.

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