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Chapter 4. Advanced Finder Techniques > Customizing Window & Desktop Views

Customizing Window & Desktop Views

As discussed in Chapter 3, a window’s view determines how icons and other information appear within it. Mac OS X remembers a window’s view settings and uses them whenever you display the window.

You can customize views a number of ways:

  • Change the settings for the default view for icon and list views.

  • Change the settings for an individual window’s icon or list view.

  • Change the view for the desktop.

View settings include a number of options:

  • Icon view settings include icon size, label text size and position, display options, arrangement, and background.

  • List view settings include icon size, text size, columns, date format, and item size calculation, as well as column width and the order in which columns appear.

  • Column view settings include text size, icon appearance, and preview column.

  • Desktop view settings include icon size, label text size and position, display options, and arrangement.

You can also display a status bar with disk information in any Finder window.

Tip

  • The only time the Finder does not use a window’s custom view is when you have the “Open new windows in Column View” option set in the Finder Preferences window (Figure 2). I tell you about this option and the rest of Finder Preferences earlier in this chapter.


To set icon view options

1.
To set icon view options for a specific window, activate that window and make sure it is displayed in icon view.

or

To set default icon view options, activate any window that is displayed in icon view.

2.
Choose View > Show View Options (Figure 8), or press to display the view options window (Figure 29).

Figure 29. The view options for a Finder window in icon view.


3.
Select the radio button for the type of option you want to set:

  • This window only customizes the settings for the active window.

  • All windows sets options for all icon view windows that do not have custom settings.

4.
Use the Icon size slider to set the size of icons:

  • Drag the slider to the left to make the icon size smaller.

  • Drag the slider to the right to make the icon size larger.

5.
Choose a type size from the Text size pop-up menu (Figure 30).

Figure 30. The Text size pop-up menu enables you to set the size of the type for icon labels.


6.
Select a radio button to specify where icon labels should appear:

  • Bottom displays labels below the icons (Figure 31).

  • Right displays labels to the right of the icons (Figure 32).

    Figure 31 & 32. You can place icon labels beneath the icons (above), which is the default setting or to the right of icons (below), which is a brand new option in Mac OS X 10.2.

7.
Toggle check boxes to specify how icons should appear:

  • Snap to grid forces icons to snap to the window’s invisible grid, thus ensuring consistent spacing between icons.

  • Show item info displays information about the item beneath its name. Figure 33 shows an example with graphic file size, in pixels, displayed.

    Figure 33. You can display information about an item beneath its label.

  • Show icon preview displays a document’s preview, if available, in place of its standard icon. Figure 34 shows preview icons for two graphic files.

    Figure 34. You can display a preview for an item instead of its icon—if a preview exists.

  • Keep arranged by automatically arranges icons in a certain order. If you select this option, choose a sort order from the pop-up menu beneath it (Figure 35).

    Figure 35. Use this pop-up menu to specify an automatic arrangement order.

8.
Select a Background option:

  • White makes the background white.

  • Color enables you to select a background color for the window. If you select this option, click the color well that appears beside it (Figure 36), use the Colors dialog (Figure 37) to select a color, and click OK.

    Figure 36. When you select the Color radio button, a color well appears.

    Figure 37. Use the Colors dialog to select a new background color.

  • Picture enables you to set a background picture for the window. If you select this option, click the Select button that appears beside it (Figure 38), use the Select a Picture dialog to locate and select a background picture (Figure 39), and click Select.

    Figure 38. When you select the Picture radio button, a Select button appears.

    Figure 39. Use the Select a Picture dialog to locate and select a background picture.

9.
When you’re finished setting options, click the view option window’s close button to dismiss it.

Tips

  • To restore the current window’s options to the default settings for all icon view windows, select the All windows radio button in step 3.

  • Working with dialogs is discussed in Chapter 5.

  • A background picture fills the window’s background behind the icons (Figure 40).

    Figure 40. A background picture appears behind icons.


To set list view options

1.
To set list view options for a specific window, activate that window and make sure it is displayed in list view.

or

To set default list view options, activate any window that is displayed in list view.

2.
Choose View > Show View Options (Figure 8), or press to display the view options window (Figure 41).

Figure 41. The view options for list view.


3.
Select the radio button for the type of option you want to set:

  • This window only customizes the settings for the active window.

  • All windows sets options for all list view windows that do not have custom settings.

4.
Select an Icon size option by clicking the radio button beneath the size you want.

5.
Choose a type size from the Text size pop-up menu (Figure 30).

6.
Select the columns you want to appear in list view by turning Show columns check boxes on or off:

  • Date Modified is the date and time an item was last changed.

  • Date Created is the date and time an item was first created.

  • Size is the amount of disk space the item occupies.

  • Kind is the type of item. I tell you about types of items in Chapter 2.

  • Version is the item’s version number.

  • Comments is the information you entered in the Comments field of the Info window. I tell you about the Info window later in this chapter.

7.
To display the date in relative terms (that is, using the words “today” and “yesterday”), turn on the Use relative dates check box.

8.
To display the disk space occupied by items and the contents of folders in the list, turn on the Calculate all sizes check box.

9.
When you’re finished setting options, click the view option window’s close button to dismiss it.

Tip

  • Turning on the Calculate all sizes check box in step 8 makes it possible to sort all of a window’s contents by size, including folders (Figure 42). Sorting window contents is covered in Chapter 3.

    Figure 42. When you turn on the Calculate all sizes in the list view options for a window, you can sort the window’s contents by size.


To set column view options

1.
Activate any window that is displayed in column view.

2.
Choose View > Show View Options (Figure 8), or press to display the view options window (Figure 43).

Figure 43. The view options for column view.


3.
Choose a type size from the Text size pop-up menu (Figure 30).

4.
To display icons beside item names, turn on the Show icons check box.

5.
To display previews (when available) for selected items (Figure 44), turn on the Show preview column check box.

Figure 44. With the Show preview column option enabled, selecting an item that includes a preview displays the preview in the far right column.


6.
When you’re finished setting options, click the view option window’s close button to dismiss it.

Tip

  • The ability to set view options for column view is brand new in Mac OS X 10.2.


To set desktop view options

1.
Click anywhere on the desktop to activate it.

2.
Choose View > Show View Options (Figure 8), or press to display the Desktop view options window (Figure 45).

Figure 45. View options for the desktop.


3.
Use the Icon size slider to set the size of icons:

  • Drag the slider to the left to make the icon size smaller.

  • Drag the slider to the right to make the icon size larger.

4.
Choose a type size from the Text size pop-up menu (Figure 30).

5.
Select a radio button to specify where icon labels should appear:

  • Bottom displays labels below the icons.

  • Right displays labels to the right of the icon.

6.
Toggle check boxes to specify how icons should appear:

  • Snap to grid forces icons to snap to the desktop’s invisible grid, thus ensuring consistent spacing between icons.

  • Show item info displays information about the item beneath its name.

  • Show icon preview displays a document’s preview, if available, in place of its standard icon.

  • Keep arranged by automatically arranges icons in a certain order. If you select this option, choose a sort order from the pop-up menu beneath it (Figure 35).

7.
When you’re finished setting options, click the view option window’s close button to dismiss it.

Tip

  • You can set the desktop background pattern in the Desktop preferences pane. System Preferences, including the Desktop preferences pane, are covered in Mac OS X Advanced: Visual QuickStart Guide.


To change a column’s width

1.
Position the mouse pointer on the line between the heading for the column whose width you want to change and the column to its right. The mouse pointer turns into a vertical bar with two arrows (Figure 46).

Figure 46. Position the mouse pointer on the column border.


2.
Press the mouse button down and drag:

  • To make the column narrower, drag to the left (Figure 47).

    Figure 47. When you press the mouse button down and drag, the column’s width changes.

  • To make the column wider, drag to the right.

3.
When the column is displayed at the desired width, release the mouse button.

Tip

  • If you make a column too narrow to display all of its contents, information may be truncated or condensed.


To change a column’s position

1.
Position the mouse pointer on the heading for the column you want to move.

2.
Press the mouse button down and drag:

  • To move the column to the left, drag to the left (Figure 48).

    Figure 48. Drag a column heading...

  • To move the column to the right, drag to the right.

As you drag, the other columns shift to make room for the column you’re dragging.

3.
When the column is in the desired position, release the mouse button. The column changes its position (Figure 49).

Figure 49. ...to change the column’s position.


Tip

  • You cannot change the position of the Name column.


To display the status bar

Choose View > Show Status Bar (Figure 8).

The status bar appears above the window’s contents (Figure 50).

Figure 50. The status bar appears above a window’s content, but below the toolbar (if displayed).


Tips

  • As shown in Figure 50, the status bar shows the number of items in the window and the total amount of space available on the disk.

  • If one or more items are selected in a window, the status bar reports how many items are selected (Figure 51).

    Figure 51. The status bar can also report how many items are selected in a window.

  • When the status bar is displayed, it appears in all Finder windows.


To hide the status bar

Choose View > Hide Status Bar (Figure 52).

Figure 52. When the status bar is displayed, the Hide Status Bar command appears on the View menu.


The status bar disappears.

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