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A Finder window's contents can be displayed using three different views:

  • Icon displays the window's con tents as small or large icons (Figure 15).

    Figure 15Figure 15 You can display a window's contents as icons,...

  • List displays the window's contents as a displays the window's contents as a sorted list (Figure 16).

    Figure 16Figure 16 a list,...

  • Column displays the window's contents with a multiple-column format that shows the currently selected disk or folder and the items within it (Figure 17).

    Figure 17Figure 17 ...or as columns.


You can customize views by setting view options globally or for individual windows. I explain how in Chapter 4.

To change a window's view

  1. If necessary, activate the window whose view you want to change.

  2. Choose the view option you want from the View menu (Figure 18) or press the corresponding shortcut key.

    Figure 18Figure 18 The View menu offers a variety of options for changing a window's view, along with three new command key equivalents for switching from one view to another.


    Click the toolbar's view button for the view you want (Figure 19). The view of the window changes.

    Figure 19Figure 19 The view buttons in the toolbar.


  • Commands on the View menu (Figure 18) work on the active window only.

  • A check mark appears on the View menu beside the name of the view applied to the active window (Figure 18).

  • You can set the view for each window individually.

To neatly arrange icons in icon view

  1. Activate the window that you want to clean up (Figure 20).

    Figure 20Figure 20 Start with a messy window like this one...

  2. Choose View > Clean Up (Figure 18). The icons are neatly arranged in the window's invisible grid (Figure 21).

    Figure 21Figure 21 ...and use the Clean Up command to put the icons in place.


    Choose one of the commands from the Arrange submenu under the View menu (Figure 22):

    • by Name arranges the icons alphabetically by name (Figure 15).

    • by Date Modified arranges the icons chronologically by the date they were last modified, with the most recently modified item last.

    • by Date Created arranges the icons chronologically by the date they were created, with the most recently created item last.

    • by Size arranges the icons in size order, with the largest item last. (Folders have a size of 0 (zero) for this option.)

    • by Kind arranges the icons alphabetically by the kind of file. The icons are neatly arranged in the window's invisible grid in the order you specified (Figure 15).

    Figure 22Figure 22 The Arrange submenu offers several options for neatly arranging icons.


  • A window's invisible grid ensures consistent spacing between icons.

  • You can manually position an icon in the window's invisible grid by holding down $% while dragging it within the window.

To sort a window's con tents in list view

Click the column heading for the column you want to sort by. The list is sorted by that column (Figure 23).

Figure 23Figure 23 Click a column heading to sort by that column.


  • You can identify the column by which a list is sorted by its colored col umn heading (Figures 16, 23, and 24).

    Figure 24Figure 24 Click the same column heading to reverse that column's sort order.

  • You can reverse a window's sort order by clicking the sort column's heading a second time (Figure 24).

  • You can determine the sort direction by looking at the arrow in the sort column. When it points up, the items are sorted in ascending order (Figure 24); when it points down, the items are sorted in des cend ing order (Figure 23).

  • To properly sort by size, you must turn on the Calculate all sizes option for the window. I explain how in Chapter 4.

  • You can specify which columns should appear in a window by setting View Options. I explain how in Chapter 4.

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