Murphy Mac - Screencasts and Tutorials » Posts in 'Finder' category

Make Finder Yours

Many years ago Murphy posted about customizing the toolbar in Finder.  When I install a new Mac I still always add toolbar buttons for deleting a file or folder from the Finder.  And another for creating a new folder.

OSXDaily has a practical post about how to make the Finder more useful.  Over the years the Finder  has evolved.  A user who’s new to the Mac might find it’s easier to keep their bearings once they’ve implemented some of the suggestions.

For example, the post recommends having new windows open to your home folder.  And always having the path displayed to the current folder.   Along with other ideas that make a lot of sense.


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Smarter Smart Folders

When you set criteria using the Finder GUI for Smart Folders each condition is set as an “and”, meaning all the criteria must be met by a file to be returned in the results.  There’s no obvious way to change this in the GUI, but it’s there.   Sometimes you want to return files that meet “any” condition of a given criteria set.  For example, you might want to see files that end in .dng OR .jpg.

When you add a new criteria to a Smart Folder, hold the option key before clicking the plus sign and you’ll get a drop-down for Any or All.  Select ANY when you want to create a less restrictive query.  Select ALL to form a restrictive Smart Folder.  You can drag the rows up and down to change their order.

I didn’t see this in the help anywhere and wonder how anyone was supposed to know about it.  I guess I’m not alone, it was mentioned in MacRumors and credited to Macworld.

I messed around a little with adding an Any and an All at the same time but I’m not sure how OS X is interpreting that logic.  Try it and see for yourself.

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Quick Tip – Quick View Shortcut for Grid Layout

In Tiger I used to select multiple images in Finder and then invoke the Slideshow function.  One of my favorite features was hitting the i key to quickly invoke the grid mode.  I love grid mode.

In Leopard I expected the same thing to happen in Quick View, but my i key was rendered useless.  Then I read somewhere that Command+Enter invokes the grid in Leopard Quick View.  Nice.  I’d give credit to whoever posted the comment, but I forget who it was.

So – select some images in Finder.  Tap the space bar.  Then hit Command+Enter.  Done.

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Creating icns Icon Files

icns filesIn a previous screencast we used Photoshop to make an image suitable for a folder icon in Leopard. Now we’ll turn that Photoshop file into an icon and apply it to the Finder folder.

It’s probably more steps than you might have guessed, but it’s very straight-forward once you have all the tools in place. Murphy installed the Developer Tools from the Leopard install DVD which include a utility called Icon Composer. The first step is to drag the Photoshop file we created earlier into Icon Composer. The icon is created in various sizes appropriate for Leopard and we export to an icns file.

The catch is that the icns file doesn’t use its own icon content as its icon. That sounds confusing, but when you see the file you’ll know it’s not right. The background isn’t transparent. But that’s no problem. Just drop the icns file onto an application called IconDroplet. A new file will be created that uses the icns file’s content as the icon.

From there, the process may be familiar. Open the Get Info panel for the file created with IconDroplet. Select the tiny icon in the top left corner and hit Command-C on the keyboard to make a copy. Then open the Get Info Panel for a the folder or file that needs a new icon. Select its tiny icon and hit Command-V to paste it in. That’s it.

If you’re confused Murphy slapped a screencast together. For a general look at changing icons on files there’s an old post on the subject too. But keep in mind, using an icns file is the way to go for best results in different Finder views, like Cover Flow.

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Make a Custom Leopard Folder

custom leopard folderThe folders in Leopard definitely have a certain look and feel. Just open your home folder in Cover Flow or Icon view and the style jumps out at you. We’re going to show you how to make a folder with the same look, based on your own image.

Murphy downloaded a template posted by guifa on the Mac Rumors forums. You can download the template when you’re ready to get started.

The template includes two layers that look like a Finder folder. The top folder layer is masked by the layer below it. When you add content to the mask that content is etched into the top folder layer. If you’re good with Photoshop you’ll probably do better than Murphy did. You can even add a subdued bit of color if that’s what you’re after.

Guifa knows his way around Photoshop. He used an unsharp mask because hard edges work best in the mask layer. He also applied some blur effects to kill artifacts in the image. If you’re not a Photoshop wizard you can still probably come up with something decent. Your image will end up small on your folders, so you won’t notice every imperfection you spot while editing in Photoshop.

In the tutorial Murphy shows how the mask layer and a folder layer are combined in Photoshop, clipping the contents of the folder layer. Then he takes a VMware Fusion logo and selects it. (Murphy wants a custom folder for storing his virtual machines) With that selection active he clicks on the mask layer and starts painting – black with the brush tool. The mask layer has shadow effects applied to it, as well as lowered opacity. The end result is a custom image that matches up well with the folders that ship in Leopard.

When your image is ready check out this post and apply it to a file or folder.

Note: This isn’t Murphy’s normal screencast layout. We’re trying something new. We suggest you right-click and download the Quicktime file rather than playing it in your web browser. The navigation doesn’t seem to work quite right in a browser.

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