The Best Mac Finder Preferences You Should Know About

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One of the staples of the macOS environment, Finder is an ever-present part of everything Mac. The Mac version of Windows Explorer, Finder is where you “find” all of your documents, media, folders, files, etc. Its smiling blue/gray icon is always on your Dock or at the top of the screen on your menu bar. While Finder seems pretty straightforward after a few uses, there are likely some preferences you may not know about. Each of these preferences can take your Finder experience to the next level.

Adjust Default Finder Search

For anyone who has ever opened Finder and used its search feature, you likely don’t know that any search is limited to whatever folder you currently have open in Finder. Instead, head to “Finder -> Preferences -> Advanced” and make a few tweaks to search your whole Mac instead.

Best Mac Finder Preferences Default Search

You can choose to search your whole Mac, use a previous search scope or just search the current folder. It’s a quick but incredibly helpful tweak when you need to find a file quickly.

Change the Default Folder

Do you have a preferred folder you use for work or a favorite folder for downloads? Apple provides a default Finder folder that is your starting point for all your Finder needs. Fortunately, you are not limited to keeping this as your default folder.

Best Mac Finder Preferences Default Folder

To make this change, head to “Finder -> Preferences” and click on the “General” tab. You will now see “New Finder windows show,” and if you click on it, you can change the default Finder window to any window of your choosing.

Rename Multiple Files

Another small but incredibly useful Finder preference is the ability to rename multiple files at once.

Best Mac Finder Preferences Rename Multiple Files

If you want to rename a bunch of files, start by selecting them. Hold down the Command button to select all of the files you want to rename. The best part of this Finder trick is that the files do not need to be in order. You can rename two files in one row and five in another. Once every file is selected, right-click on your mouse or trackpad and select “Rename X items” with the X standing in for the number of files you have selected. There are now three options to choose from:

  • The far-left drop-down allows you to Replace Text, Add Text or Format the names of all of the selected files.
Best Mac Finder Preferences Rename Multiple Files Left
  • In the middle, you can write your own title which can be anything you want.
Best Mac Finder Preferences Rename Multiple Files Right
  • The far-right drop-down allows you to add the new text before or after the existing file name.
Best Mac Finder Preferences Rename Multiple Files Third

Customize the Toolbar

One of the biggest annoyances when working in Finder is not being able to quickly access the function you need to perform an action. That ends today, as you can easily customize the Finder toolbar to put every shortcut you need one click away.

Best Mac Finder Preferences Customize Toolbar

Hover your mouse anywhere on the toolbar, right-click and select “Customize the Toolbar.” A new window will open showing a variety of potential shortcut actions you can add to the toolbar. These include options like Quick Look, Get Info, New Folder, Delete and more. As an added bonus, you can also add a favorite folder to the Finder folder. Just click and drag a Folder into the top toolbar for quick access.

Merge Open Finder Windows

We have all enjoyed having too many open Finder windows. The more windows that are open on a Mac, especially on a smaller screen, can be a real headache.

Best Mac Finder Preferences Merge All Windows

To avoid window clutter, click on “Window -> Merge All Windows” and combine all open Finder windows. Alternatively, avoid opening multiple Finder windows by pressing Command + T inside an open Finder window for a new tab. You can open multiple tabs to help find what you are looking for.

Fullscreen Quick Look

Another one of those handy tricks you mayhave never known about is seeing Quick Look in fullscreen. It can be incredibly handy. As you are searching through multiple files, videos, photos, or documents, Quick Look is a fast and easy way to preview a file. Instead of opening up a default application like Word, PowerPoint, Pages, or Photos, Quick Look enables you to see nearly any file type at a quick glance.

Best Mac Finder Preferences Keyboard

What if you want to see Quick Look in fullscreen? All you need to do is press the Option key at the same time as the Space bar to activate Quick Look. You can also hold the Option key down if you have placed the Quick Look icon in your Finder toolbar.

Now that you have mastered your Finder, you should look into customizing the files, folder and hard drive icons in Finder or uncovering the hidden customization options in macOS. Taking a few extra minutes to learn these customization tips can go a long way in helping your day-to-day macOS experience.

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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