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macOS Catalina: 8 tips for using and finding the Finder better

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macOS Catalina: 8 tips for using and finding the Finder better

At this time of more remote work, videoconferencing classes and more computer dependence, some users bet on switching from Windows to macOS. However, in the early days, this type of experience leads users to search the Apple operating system for the tools they knew in Windows. A clear example is to look for File Explorer when on macOS you have Finder. Both are very good and powerful, but have very different concepts and work philosophy.

As such, our tip for today will be to grab 8 tips and drill down to help you do close-ups with this powerful macOS tool from Apple.

The Finder is the first thing you see when your Mac has just started up. It opens automatically and remains charged as you use other applications. It includes the Finder menu bar at the top of the screen and the desk at the bottom. Let's see a little of what we can do to, with these tips, better master this very important macOS tool.

Finder on macOS Catalina

The Finder (Apple translation “One who finds”) is a very important tool for the user to find and organize his files. Being one of the most important in the system, who comes from the Windows world is normal to ignore many features and even find a very complex tool. To this end, today we give you a helping hand to start mastering the Finder.

Image of the Finder icon

1 – Finder preferences

Like other tools, the Finder also has an ‘interface’ that offers several options for customization. To access the Finder preferences, just open the Finder itself and then, in the top bar, go to Finder> Preferences.

Image Finder preferences menu

2 – Define root directory / structure

If you frequently access a particular file system structure (eg Desk, Documents, iCloud Drive, directory), then you can define it as the root of the Finder. This means that whenever you open the Finder, it will be that structure or directory that will be immediately presented.

To define this structure, just go to the Finder preferences, General tab and then define in “New Finder windows show:“.

Image tool options

Note that in the General interface it is also possible to indicate which icons to display on the desk and also to choose whether we want to Open folders in tabs instead of new windows.

This area is important for you to know and understand how to adapt to your needs and preferences.

3 – Identifiers

This is one of the mechanisms we use most. In the several important and most used folders, we assign an identifier (a color). Then, we have nothing more to do if we don't click on the color list of those same indicators and we jump right into a folder.

Image of Identifiers present in macOS Catalina

Note that there is a color preset, but the option to choose more colors is also available. In addition, we can give a new name to each of these Identifiers.

Option image of folders with color tags

These Identifiers are positioned on the Sidebar, which we will talk about next, but can also be moved. It is important to realize that they are a quick shortcut to the content.

4 – Sidebar

When we open a Finder window, it shows, on the side, several places where we can make content available. These menus are also for the user to adapt to his preference, he does not have to stay with the predefined ones forever.

To do this, just go to Finder preferences and then choose the Sidebar tab. Then just choose which elements you want to see in the Finder sidebar.

Finder sidebar image

5 – Advanced

Here, we suggest that you waste a little time, as you will gain a lot in the future. In the advanced options of the Finder, the user can manipulate some behaviors of the files, such as showing or not the extensions.

Sometimes, we can manually change an extension, for example, if you want to change from anything.jpeg to anything.jpg, the Finder can alert you to this change, because in other cases it can be done in an unintentional way, it can be accidental.

Image with advanced Finder options in macOS Catalina

Another important aspect, especially because today Apple synchronizes the various devices via iCloud, so that the desktop, documents, or iCloud Drive folder is always the same, is the notification of when to remove a file from these sync zones. Just to know that you may be dragging out a file that, at home, may be missed.

Then, in the Trash options, we highlight the rule that we can activate that, after 30 days, the trash at that age automatically disappears, no longer occupying “gigas”.

6 – Customize the Toolbar

Didn't you know that macOS comes with many editing tools that, in most cases, avoid having to install third party apps?

Image of the option to view icons in the windows of the Apple operating system

Open a Finder window. Now, with the right mouse button, choose the Customize toolbar option.

Image of the Finder options window

You will now see this new window of options for many tools available. You just have to drag up, wherever it takes place, what you want to see available. It has a large set of icons that trigger an action. For example, you can drag the Delete icon upwards, which makes it easier. You can also combine others using the Action option.

But there is more, explore this area and you will find that you can have a much more useful toolbar.

7 – Add shortcuts to the toolbar

So, since we are talking about the toolbar, know that, in addition to the tools, we can make application icons available.

The user can easily add convenient shortcuts at the top of the Finder window to any application, file or folder they want, simply by holding down the Command key (⌘) and dragging the item to an available space on the toolbar.

Apple macOS Catalina menu parameterization image

This ease of creating shortcuts is important so that we sometimes don’t have to search the dock or applications for a specific tool that we sometimes or often use directly from the Finder.

8 – Group Finder windows

We had not yet addressed this issue, but, know that, on top of the Finder icon, which is in the Dock, you can, with the right mouse button, open several windows of this Apple tool. In addition, in a window that is already open, we can open tabs. It is true, we can have a Finder as if it were a browser.

macOS Catalina: 8 tips for using and finding the Finder better

Most likely, at various times, you will have many of these windows separate and open on your desktop. When there are many, it is more difficult to control what is or is not being used and here you can enter the function Grouping the Finder windows. This function appears in the Window Menu.

Image option group windows in macOS Catalina

The result, as mentioned above, will be a window with several tabs. Note that if you want to have one of these windows out of the group in any way, just click on the tab and drag it out.

Image Finder options

Simple, right? But there is much more to be improved on this issue of customizing the Finder. These are just a few of the many options that this fantastic tool allows. We will soon address more specific ones.

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