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Change the View of the Finder Window

You can change how the items inside any window are displayed. Experiment with the three different views and you'll decide for yourself how you like to work. You might prefer one view for certain things and a different view for others—with the click of a button, you can switch from one to the other.

The Icon View

Obviously, this displays every file as an icon, or small picture.

In the Icon View, double-click to open files

Folder icons:

iconfolder_icon.jpg

Double-click a folder to display its contents in the window. (But not in the Sidebar; single-click those icons.)

Document icons:

icondoc_icon.jpg

Double-click a document to open not only that document, but also the application it was created in.

Application icons:

iconapp_icon.jpg

Double-click an application icon to open that application, ready for you to create wonderful projects.

The List View

As a list, you can see the contents of more than one folder at once. You can organize the list alphabetically by names, by the dates the files were last modified, by what kind of items they are, and other options.

The blue column heading is a visual clue that the contents are organized by that heading; single-click any other column heading to organize the contents by something else.

The tiny triangle in the column heading is a visual clue that tells you whether the information is sorted from first to last or last to first. Single-click the triangle to reverse the order. Try it.

In the List View, single-click vs. double-click

Folder icons:

Single-click the disclosure triangle to the left of a folder to display its contents as a sublist, as shown circled above. You can view the contents of more than one folder at once.

Double-click a tiny folder icon to display its contents in the window, which will replace the contents you currently see in the window.

Document icons:

Double-click a document to open not only that document, but also the application it was created in.

Application icons:

Double-click an application icon to open it.

The Column View

Viewing the Finder window in columns allows you to see not only the contents of a selected folder or hard disk, but you can easily keep track of where each file is located. You can also view the contents of another folder without losing sight of the first one. This view helps you understand where everything is kept in your computer.

If you have photographs, graphic images, or movies in your folders, the last column displays previews of the items. You can even play a small movie in this preview column. Some documents can display previews as well.

In the example above, you can see that the “top level” folder is my Home folder, “robin.” In “robin,” I selected the folder “Wilton Circle Press” (I clicked once on it) and in that folder I selected “WCP staff,” and in that folder I selected “Laura Egley Taylor.jpg,” and that file displays a preview.

You won't see a column to the right until you single-click a folder or a file— then a new column to the right appears to display the contents of that folder or a preview of the file. The triangles indicate the file is a folder that can contain other files.

In the Column View, single-click files to display columns

Folder icons:

Single-click a folder to display its contents in the column to the right. If there is no column to the right, one will appear.

Document icons:

Single-click a document to see a preview in the column to the right. Not all documents can provide picture previews, but the preview will at least give you information about that file.

Double-click a document to open not only that document, but also the application it was created in.

Application icons:

Single-click an application icon to preview information about it, such as its version and date of modification.

Double-click an application icon to open that application.

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