Get to know the Finder on your Mac

Learning about the Finder is the first step toward finding and organizing your documents, media, folders, and other files.

 

 

The Finder is the first thing that you see when your Mac finishes starting up. It opens automatically and stays open as you use other apps. It includes the Finder menu bar at the top of the screen and the desktop below that. It uses windows and icons to show you the contents of your Mac, iCloud Drive, and other storage devices. It's called the Finder because it helps you to find and organize your files.


Open windows and files

To open a window and see the files on your Mac, switch to the Finder by clicking the Finder icon (pictured above) in the Dock. Switching to the Finder also reveals any Finder windows that might be hidden behind the windows of other apps. You can drag to resize windows and use the buttons to close , minimize , or maximize  windows. Learn more about managing windows.

When you see a document, app, or other file that you want to open, just double-click it.


Change how your files are displayed

To change how files are displayed in Finder windows, use the View menu in the menu bar, or the row of buttons at the top of the Finder window. You can view files as icons , in a list , in columns , or in a gallery . And for each view, the View menu provides options to change how items are sorted and arranged, such as by kind, date, or size. Learn more about customizing views.

When you view files in a gallery, you can browse your files visually using large previews, so it's easy to identify images, videos, and all kinds of documents. Gallery View in macOS Mojave even lets you play videos and scroll through multipage documents. Earlier versions of macOS have a similar but less powerful gallery view called Cover Flow .


Gallery View in macOS Mojave, showing the sidebar on the left and the Preview pane on the right.


Use the Preview pane

The Preview pane is available in all views by choosing View > Show Preview from the menu bar. Or press Shift-Command (⌘)-P to quickly show or hide the Preview pane.

macOS Mojave enhances the Preview pane in several ways:

  • More information, including detailed metadata, can be shown for each file. This is particularly useful when working with photos and media, because key EXIF data, like camera model and aperture value, are easy to locate. Choose View > Preview Options to control what information the Preview pane can show for the kind of file selected.
  • Quick Actions let you easily manage or edit the selected file.

Use Quick Actions in the Preview pane

With Quick Actions in macOS Mojave, you can take actions on a file without opening an app. Quick Actions appear at the bottom of the Preview pane and vary depending on the kind of file selected.

  • Rotate an image 
  • Mark up an image or PDF 
  • Combine images and PDFs into a single PDF file 
  • Trim audio and video files 

To manage Quick Actions, click More , then choose Customize. macOS Mojave includes a standard set of Quick Actions, but Quick Actions installed by third-party apps also appear here. You can even create your own Quick Actions using Automator.


Use Stacks on your desktop

macOS Mojave introduces Stacks, which lets you automatically organize your desktop into neat stacks of files, so it's easy to keep your desktop tidy and find exactly what you're looking for. Learn more about Stacks.




Delete files

To move a file to the Trash, drag the file to the Trash in the Dock. Or select one or more files and choose File > Move To Trash (Command-Delete).

To remove a file from the Trash, click the Trash to open it, then drag the file out of the Trash. Or select the file and choose File > Put Back.

To delete the files in the Trash, choose File > Empty Trash. The storage space used by those files then becomes available for other files. In macOS Sierra, you can set up your Mac to empty the trash automatically.

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