The Finder

In earlier versions of the Mac OS, the Finder was located in the application menu at the far-right edge of the menu bar. The Finder was the application responsible for displaying the contents of a drive or folder; when double-clicked, a window would open, displaying either an Icon or List View of the contents. Mac OS X’s Finder really isn’t that different from Mac OS 9’s Finder. It still displays the contents of drives and folders; however, the Finder is much more powerful, particularly in Jaguar.

The Finder serves as a graphical file manager, which offers three ways (or Views) to look at the files, folders, applications, and other filesystems mounted on your system. The Finder also sports a toolbar that allows you quick access to frequently used files and directories, along with a built-in Search field. More on the Finder toolbar and how to search for files later; for now, let’s look at the three Views available to the Finder: Icon, List, and the new Column View.


You can quickly change the Finder’s viewpoint by using

The Finder

-1 for Icon View,

The Finder

-2 for List View, or

The Finder

-3 for Column View.

Icon View

This shows the contents of a directory as either a file, folder, or application icon, ...

Get Mac OS X Pocket Guide, Second Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.