Touring the Finder

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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.

Touring the Finder
Video duration: 10m 19s 6h 4m Beginner


Touring the Finder provides you with in-depth training on Business. Taught by Christopher Breen as part of the Mac OS X Lion Essential Training

Mac OS X
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