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Finder Essentials

Finder Essentials

The following features share one thing in common: When they were first introduced, I thought they were just eye candy or of limited real use. Boy was I wrong—I now use them all the time.

Quick Look

Select a file in the Finder and press the spacebar. A new window appears with a preview of the file’s contents, so you don’t need to open the file to tell what it is (Figure 4.4). You can view photos, video, audio clips, PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, Keynote presentations, and more. The Quick Look preview floats above your other windows—you can select other items to preview them without closing the Quick Look window.

Figure 4.4 A Quick Look view of a PDF file

A Quick Look window also offers more options (Figure 4.5).

  • When multiple files are selected, use the arrows (or arrow keys) to move between them.
  • Click the Index Sheet button to view all the files in a grid.
  • Click the “Open with” button to launch the suggested application. Or, right-click the button to view a list of other compatible programs; the list can also include actions, such as “Add to iPhoto” for images.
  • Click the diagonal arrow icon to present the content full-screen.

Figure 4.5 Quick Look options

In Full Screen mode, a few other options appear (Figure 4.6).

  • When more than one item is selected for Quick Look, click the Play button to start playing a slideshow of the items.
  • If you’re viewing an image, click the Add to iPhoto button to add the photo to your iPhoto library.
  • Click the Exit Full Screen button or press the Esc key to go back to the Quick Look window.

Figure 4.6 Quick Look full-screen options

Spring-loaded folders

When you’re copying or moving a file or folder, you must do a little bit of prep work by making sure the source and the target are both in visible windows. Spring-loaded folders enable you to grab an item and move it to a folder that may not be visible.

Drag the item onto the top of a folder, wait a moment, and that folder opens automatically. You can keep exploring in this way until you find the intended destination folder. If you opened the wrong folder, move the item (all the while keeping the mouse button pressed) out of the window that sprang open.

A similar effect works with open windows, too. If just a corner of a window is peeking out among dozens of open windows on your screen, that’s fine: Drag the file or folder to that window corner to bring the window forward, where you can drop the item to move it.

Create an archive

When you need to send several files to someone over the Internet, it’s best to wrap them up into a single package that gets transmitted. Select the files and choose File > Compress (number of items). Mac OS X makes copies and stores them in a .zip archive file.

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