Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Browsing through folders, part of Mac OS X El Capitan Essential Training.
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- In this chapter we're going to explore Finder, which is your computer's filing cabinet. It's important to learn Finder so you can access the files and folders stored on your computer. Now I want to make sure that we're focused on Finder, so I want to make sure that Finder is the active application. If you happen to have some other application running, I want you to just go ahead and quit that application, make sure that nothing else is running, and that the menus up at the top of the screen are Finder menus. So I like to think of Finder like a filing cabinet.
That's where I would store files and folders in my office. So to open my filing cabinet, I need to open a Finder window. There are a few different ways to open a Finder window. One would be to double click on the icon on your desktop labelled Macintosh HD. Now if you happen to not have that icon on your desktop, it's actually really easy to enable it. All you need to do is go into the main Finder menu, go into Preferences. You want to be in the section labelled General.
And make sure that this option labelled Hard Disks is turned on. You just have to click on this box and make sure that the check mark is there. As long as that's enabled, you should see the Macintosh Hard Drive on your desktop. So one way to open up a finder window would be to double click on that icon and now we have a Finder window. I'm going to close that because I want to look at another way of opening up a Finder window. You can go down into the dock and locate the Finder icon in the dock. Click on that, and that will also open a Finder window.
Once you're in finder, you need to be able to get to the specific folder that you want to access. Now don't worry, at this point you may not know which folder you want to access. We're going to be talking more about that later in the chapter. For now I just want to clarify the mechanics of moving around and selecting specific folders. So one way of going to a specific folder would be to go to the shortcuts on the sidebar over on the left, in this section labelled Favorites. So for example, if I wanted to go to my downloads folder, I could just click on it here.
Now I'm in the downloads folder. I know I'm in the downloads folder because I see up at the top of the window it tells me which folder I have open. Now my downloads folder is currently empty, so there's nothing here. I could go to my applications folder, for example, and then I'm going to see a list of all the applications installed on my computer. Or just for an example, I'm going to go to my documents folder. I already put some files and folders in my documents folder, so when I select that I see some contents there. If you followed along with the exercise files movie at the beginning of this course, you might see the same contents or you might just be seeing whatever you have in your documents folder.
But I'm going to run with this. So now since I'm in the documents folder, I see the contents here, which in my case is just a bunch of folders. I'm going to have even more folders inside of these folders and then inside of some of these folders will be individual files. So I want to talk about how you can view the contents of your folders. That's going to be really important. So I want to look at this cluster of four buttons up in the toolbar. These are your view options. So I'm going to start by clicking on the first one on the left.
This will switch me into the icon view. So I'm still in the documents folder and I still see the same folders, but now they're laid out as big icons. Now I can open any of these folders just by double clicking on them. That opens up and now I can see inside of this folder is just a bunch of files. So I'm inside of a folder called No Obstacles now. I can see that up at the top of the window. I'm going to take a step back by clicking on the back button over here on the left. And now I'm back to my documents folder.
And now I want to switch over to the list view, which is the second button here. So now I can see the same contents, the same folders, but now they're listed as a list. And so I can open any of these folders, again, just by double clicking on it. And I can see the contents of the folder. Same files, they're just laid out differently. But what's really interesting here is that they're laid out in these columns. I see a name column and a date modified column. And actually if I make this window bigger, I can see a few more columns. And I can actually sort the contents of a folder according to these different columns.
So if I click on the column header for date modified, it sorts all of these files according to the date they were last modified. I can click on the size column header, and now they're sorted by their size. I'm going to go back to name and now they're sorted alphabetically. If I click on name again, they're sorted in reverse alphabetical order. So I'll click on that one more time to go back to regular alphabetical order. I'm going to take a step back by hitting the back button here. So of course I could sort these folders here the same way.
Another nice thing about the list view is that I don't have to double click on a folder to open it. I can just click on the little triangle next to a folder and it opens up and shows me the contents of that folder without actually opening it up and putting me inside of that folder. So I can close that folder again by clicking on that triangle and it closes that. Next I want to look at the column view. In the column view, of course, we see the contents of my documents folder. And if I click on one of these folders, it shows me the contents of that folder in the next column.
So let's look at a different folder. I'm going to go to this photos folder. Inside of that I have just more folders. And if I click on one of those folders, then I see the contents of that folder in another column. So you're going to find there are a lot of cases where you've got folders inside of folders inside of folders. And I can see that path here because they're all laid out in different columns. Finally, I'm going to take a look at the cover flow view, which works basically the same as the list view down in the bottom half, but in the top half I can see a preview of the files in this folder.
So I can swipe left and right. I'm going to go back to the documents. I can do that by clicking on the shortcut in the sidebar on the left. Again, I'll switch over to cover flow. And I can flip through these different folders this way. And if I open up one of these folders by double clicking on it, now I'm inside of that folder and I can flip through and get a preview of the files this way. All right, so let me go back to the documents folder. And I'm going to switch over to the column view. Just because that's my preference. And you're going to start building your own preference.
You should decide which of these views you want to use as you're browsing through finder. But I'm going to stick with the column view for the most part as we go through the rest of this chapter. Now, a couple other little things I want to point out before we wrap up. There are a bunch of other buttons up here in the toolbar, some of which we'll use as we go through the rest of this chapter. The actions button is pretty handy. In the actions button you'll find a bunch of pretty common actions or commands that you're going to be using as you're working in Finder. Now, all of the commands that you see in the actions menu can also be found in the Finder menus.
But the actions menu just collects the most common, most often used commands. And finally, I want to open up one extra little thing which I find makes it a lot easier for me as I'm browsing through Finder. I'm going to go into the view menu and I'm going to choose this option to show the path bar. So this is always going to show me the path to the folder that I'm in. There's a specific hierarchy to where files are on your hard drive, and you're going to have folders inside of folders inside of folders, which again, we'll talk about in the rest of this chapter.
But it's really nice to have the path bar so you always know where you are on your hard drive. Okay, so that's how you can browse through the files and folders on your Mac using Finder. I hope you'll agree that it's pretty easy. But it's important to know how and why Finder works the way it does because we're going to be building on this knowledge as we get into some more advanced stuff in Finder through the rest of this chapter.
- Setting mouse and trackpad options and gesture controls
- Connecting to the Internet
- Organizing your Mac OS X desktop
- Browsing files and folders with the Finder
- Launching and quitting applications
- Using Split View and multitasking
- Searching for files with Spotlight
- Browsing the web with Safari
- Setting up Mail, Calendar, and Contacts
- Connecting to others with Messages and FaceTime
- Working with notifications
- Installing apps
- Sharing over a wireless network
- Backing up your Mac