Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Apple > Operating Systems

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Four window views

You can change how you view the contents of a Finder window. Some people like to see their windows' contents as icons in Icon View; some prefer a list of names in List View; others prefer columns showing the contents of multiple folders at once in Column View; and some like the graphic Cover Flow View. In the short exercises that follow, you'll experiment with viewing the windows in different views.

Icon View

Below you see a Finder window in Icon View. As you know by now, each icon represents a file of some sort—it might be a document, a folder, an application, a disk, a song, or something else.

Exercise 1: Experiment with views and with Icon View.

  1. If you don't have a Finder window open, single-click the "Finder" icon (shown to the right).
  2. In the Sidebar of the window, single-click "Applications." The contents of the Applications folder appear in the window pane, as shown above.
  3. Now click the View buttons one at a time to see how the contents appear in each of the different views.
  4. Go back to the Icon View: Single-click the far-left View button, as shown above.
  5. When in Icon View, single-click another item in the Sidebar to view its contents. The view is probably different in another window.
  6. Single-click "Applications" in the Sidebar to view the Applications window again.

List View

Below you see a Finder window in List View. Notice there are little triangles to the left of each folder icon. You can single-click any number of triangles to display the contents of folders. This way you can see the contents of more than one folder at a time.

Exercise 2: Experiment with List View.

  1. The List View button (circled, above) is second from the left in the row of four View buttons.
  2. When in List View, single-click any "disclosure" triangle next to a folder to display its contents in a sub-list in this same window. You can open more than one folder in this way; try it.
  3. To see the contents of just one folder, double-click any folder icon; the contents of that folder you double-click will replace the contents you see at the moment.
  4. To go back to the previous window pane of contents, single-click the Back button, the triangle in the upper-left corner of the Toolbar.

Resize the columns in List View

Exercise 3: Resize the columns in List View to suit yourself.

  1. Position the pointer directly on the dividing line between columns of information. When you are positioned correctly, the pointer changes into a two-headed arrow, as shown circled below.
  2. When you see the two-headed arrow, press-and-drag left or right to resize the column. The column to the left of the two-headed arrow is the one that will be resized.

Apply an arrangement

Exercise 4: Arrange the items in List View to suit yourself.

When an arrangement is applied to a window, it organizes things in a particular way, but it also limits what else you can do. For instance, you can't resize or rearrange the columns or the items in the window. An arrangement can be a great solution for a window; just be aware of how it impacts other features.

  1. From the Arrange by menu, circled below, choose an arrangement.
  2. This can be very useful, but notice that you cannot resize the columns, nor rearrange them (by dragging the column names left or right).
  3. Change the arrangement to "None" for now. Then try dragging a column heading left or right to rearrange it. The "Name" column cannot be moved.

Column View

Below is a Finder window in Column View. Notice there are little triangles to the right of each folder icon. The triangles indicate that the contents of those folders will appear in the column to the right when you single-click the folder name.

Exercise 5: Experiment with Column View.

  1. Single-click the Column View icon in the Toolbar, as circled above.
  2. Single-click "Applications" in the Sidebar.
  3. In the first column of files, single-click any folder icon to see its contents displayed in the next column.

    If you see another folder to the right, single-click that one to display its contents in yet another column.

    Your Mac will keep making columns to the right until you select a document of any type (as opposed to a folder) or an application package, at which point a small preview will be displayed in the last column.

Resize the columns in Column View

You can resize the columns in Column View using the vertical column dividers. Position the pointer on top of a dividing line, and the pointer changes shape to indicate it will now adjust columns.

Exercise 6: Resize the columns in Column View.

  1. To resize one individual column at a time, just press-and-drag left or right on any divider. This resizes the column to the left of the selected divider. If you're using a wired mouse, drag the thumb marker.
  2. To resize all columns at once, hold down the Option key while you drag the divider or the thumb marker left or right. This makes all columns proportionally larger or smaller as you drag.
  3. This is the most useful technique of all: Double-click on the dividing line or thumb marker to widen the column so you can see the complete file names of all files.

Cover Flow View

Below you see a Finder window in Cover Flow View. This is quite different from the other views in that it shows you a graphic image of each item in a folder.

  • To skim through the images in the upper preview, use one finger to swipe across a Magic Mouse, or two fingers to swipe across a trackpad. With a non-gesture mouse, "press-and-toss" on either side of the center image to flip through them (try it!), or drag the slider that appears beneath the images.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account