Mac OS X: How to Save a Finder View (Column, Icon, or List) for a Specific Folder or Disk

The Finder saves the preferred view (Column, Icon, or List) of the first folder or disk opened in a new Finder window.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

You open a new Finder window and then navigate to another folder or disk in the same window. You set the window to a different view and then close the window. The next time you open that folder or disk, it has reverted to the previous view.

Note: This symptom is not apparent if you have selected the Finder preference "Keep a window's view the same when opening other folders in the window". The symptoms occurs if you deselect this preference.


Concept of "starting point"

The Finder always saves the preferred view of the first item opened in a new Finder window. The item may be a disk, folder, or the "Computer" list of volumes. This first item opened in a new Finder window is known as that window's starting point. The starting point is also the only place where the window position, scroll position, and window size are saved.

Temporary versus "preferred" view setting

By default, the Finder opens items in the same window as you navigate through disks and folders. The Finder does not save the view of any item opened subsequent to the starting point. Since the subsequent items' views are not saved, this allows you to set a preferred view for an item that you may change temporarily during a session of browsing in the Finder. After you close the Finder window, the item reverts from the temporary setting to your preferred setting.

How to set a preferred view

There are several ways you may open a given item in a new Finder window for the purpose of saving a view, but this method is the simplest. Follow these steps:
    1. Close open Finder windows.
    2. Click the Finder icon in the Dock.
    3. Choose Preferences from the Finder application menu.
    4. Click "Always open folders in a new window" to enable that option.
    5. Open the item for which you wish to set a view. It should appear in its own new window.
    6. Set the desired view in the new window.
    7. Close the new window.
    8. Repeat Steps 5 to 7 for any item you wish to set.
    9. If desired, click "Always open folders in a new window" to disable that option.
    10. Close the Finder Preferences window.

Note: When saving a List view, the sort order (such as by Date Modified or Size) may not be consistently retained. See technical document 106204, "Mac OS X 10.1: List View Settings May Not Be Retained".
Published Date: Feb 17, 2012