Have you replaced Finder on your Mac with a cool alternative or do you use a plugin to enhance it? As a Mac user, I’m sure you already know just how important Finder is.
Unfortunately, many Mac users are not happy with Finder’s default set up, so they often look for a replacement or ways to enhance it. Tools like TotalFinder and Path Finder are popular alternatives.
Today we’re going to look at a new Finder enhancement plugin, called XtraFinder. Similar to TotalFinder, XtraFinder is free (at least for now) and adds tabs, new menu items and other useful features to Finder.
XtraFinder can be downloaded from the official website. You’ll download the .dmg file and install it in your Mac. This process will restart Finder, so you should not be doing anything important at that time. After installation, you must run XtraFinder to open the preferences window. You’ll also get a new menu bar icon, although it can be hidden if you prefer not to have it.
With the menu bar icon you can: access preferences, show pinable windows and dual windows, hide the menu bar icon, restart Finder, uninstall XtraFinder, view “about” info (where you can enable automatic update checking), and check for updates.
The preferences window is very important because you can enable/disable features and add items to Finder menus.
The tabs features is experimental; you’ll need to be very careful and, of course, bugs are expected. I really love having tabs in Finder because it eliminates the need for multiple Finder windows. This saves time, saves space on the screen and helps to boost productivity.
You can see all of the available features in the screenshot below. Although most are small additions, they’re very useful and make XtraFinder worth your while.
As you can see, none of the features are enabled by default besides “save open tabs when quitting Finder,” so you’re not going to notice anything different at first. Having folders and files mixed together really annoys me, which is why I love the “arrange folders on top” option. Just with that alone enabled, Finder looks better already!
You may think that the “cut & paste” option is not needed, but it’s something I use often on my Windows PC, so I’m happy that I can now make use of it on my Mac. Sometimes you may want to totally remove a file from one location and move it to another. Although the spring-loaded folders are great for moving files around, if it’s a long journey it could take more time and one small mistake will have you starting all over!
The “light text on dark background” is great for night time use, but during the day it would probably make me go blind. The “colorful icons in sidebar” is something I really like because it brings life to Finder’s sidebar again.
To use the Path Bar features, make sure you have your Path Bar showing first. If you’re like me it’s always hidden, but you can display it by going to “view -> show Path Bar” in the Finder menu. Which brings me to another favorite, “click any item in the Path Bar to show contents menu.” Talk about saving time; this is really going to cut down on clicks and navigation through tons of folders.
Add Items to Menus
I won’t go into detail so much with the items that you can add to Finder menus. I will mention that with most of the items, you can also create a keyboard shortcut. This is great for Mac users that love using shortcuts and if you can actually remember all of them, that’s even better.
When selecting items you’ll have to search for them to see which menus they’ve been added to. The search bar in Finder’s “help” menu is great for this task. Just type in the name of the item you’ve added and it will show you where it is.
My favorite item here is “Copy Path,” which is something else that I use a lot on Windows, but have missed on my Mac. This is really a great addition to Finder.
This is my first time using a plugin for Finder and I haven’t used a replacement either, so I can’t compare XtraFinder to any of those tools. If you currently use or have used anything similar in the past, I’d love to hear your thoughts on XtraFinder in comparison to those tools.
This being my first time, I’m really in love with XtraFinder and I’m wondering how I’ve lived without any type of enhancements to Finder. The features added are small, yet are a huge improvement to the functionality and UI of Finder. As a free tool, XtraFinder really delivers.