The Finder in OS X really lacks useful features and capabilities. Its a travesty that Apple hasn’t done something more with the application. Although you can make do with Apple Finder, this article looks at Path Finder which really does everything you need, want, imaging, and has features for managing files that you haven’t even thought of yet. Even better, many other utilities can be configured to default to using Path Finder as well.
I’ll admit that I got Path Finder as part of a software bundle, and didn’t “get” Path Finder the for a while. But when I first started out on the Mac there was so much else to get used to, to familiarise, that Path Finder looked to complicated so I didn’t work with it. I took a much closer look about six months ago, and forced myself to use it and then I discovered why people rave about it.
So if you are recent switcher to the Mac, it might be worth waiting a while unless you need to manage loads of file. If you need lots of features to manage files then don’t wait, go and get this now.
What does it look like ?
In it’s simplest form, Path Finder can look just like the standard finder.
But Path Finder has many forms. On the bottom left there small icons which allowing for rapid changes to the layout. I’ll show a few of these modes here.
Side by Side or Dual Window
This is the standard side by side view. When moving or copying files from folder to folder, this dual view clearly shows where you are and where you are coming from. Best feature
One side with the Quick View window open but the right using hierarchy. Second best feature for me
Quick Access Menus
There are a number quick access options for the most common directories so that you can quickly move to differnt areas of the Folders as shown in the diagram above.
Left Side Window
You can open window on the left that looks a lot like theside window on the Finder. I found this useful because I had changed my workflow to use the Finder with it’s window on the left and kind of got used to it. I use this all the time
Right clicking on the column titles lets you select the columns you want.
You have full control over what columns you can see in viewing pane. (Huge time saver, especially with permission problems)
Copy Holder / Parking Area
One of the interesting features of Left Window is a “spot” where you can park a file when copying.
As you can see I have dropped a file onto the parking area, and then can navigate around the structure until I find where I want to put it, or create a directory …..Best Lazy Feature Sure there are other ways to do this, but this is so useful. You would have to use it yourself to understand. Think “I’ve got a file to move but I’m not sure where I want put it. I’ll park it while I think about it”.
and now the file has been copied the parking area is emptied
Many other views
There are several other views which are really useful when managing a lot of graphics files (for when blogging or writing a design or book)
This view has the file info and an image in the window.
Other Windows offer even more capabilities and features. I highlighted a few of them here.
You can extensively customise the way Path Finder looks and operates, also the way in integrates. Take a look at some of these options.
In my configuration, I have disabled the Finder completely and use Path Finder instead. Note that Finder is still available and will automatically open as needed, but you can save memory by not running it at all.
Extended Support in other Applications
There are many applications for the Mac OSX that offer integration with Path Finder. Here are few that I have that will switch to using Path Finder.
Path Finder in Speed Download
Path Finder in Default Folder
Path Finder in Interarchy
Interarchy is FTP/SFTP client that has Path Finder integration.
The Etherealmind View
A network engineer probably doesn’t NEED Path Finder. A SysAdmin or VM Engineer would need this to help keep control of their various bits of software and transfer files to and from servers. However, I now manage a lot of data for blogging and testing and find that Path Finder is a must have to reduce the friction in my workflow.
There are many more hidden features than I have covered here such the modules, and terminal integration, open terminal here feature, menu customisation and much more. If you spend some time with the software looking and scratching that itch, you find something that you need for the way you work.
Path Finder is available from Cocoa Tech, an independent software developer and costs just USD$39.95. You should buy it.