Get Info

By clicking an icon and then choosing File→Get Info, you open an important window like the one shown in Figure 2-12. It’s a collapsible, multipanel screen that provides a wealth of information about a highlighted icon. For example:

  • For a document icon, you see when it was created and modified, and what programs it “belongs” to.

  • For an alias, you learn the location of the actual icon it refers to.

  • For a program, you can turn on Prevent App Nap (Title-bar tricks).

  • For a disk icon, you get statistics about its capacity and how much of it is full.

  • If nothing is selected, you get information about the desktop itself (or the open window), including the amount of disk space consumed by everything on or in it.

  • If you highlight so many icons simultaneously that their Get Info windows would overwhelm your screen, OS X thoughtfully tallies up their information into a single summary window. It shows you how many icons you highlighted, breaks them down by type (“23 documents, 3 folders,” for example), and adds up their file sizes. That’s a great opportunity to change certain file characteristics on numerous files simultaneously, such as locking or unlocking them, hiding or showing their file name suffixes, changing their ownership or permissions (The Get Info method), and so on.

    Top: The Get Info window can be as small as this, with all its information panes collapsed.Bottom: Or, if you click each flippy triangle to open its corresponding panel of information (or Option-click to expand or collapse them all at once), it can be as huge as this—shown here split in two because the book isn’t tall enough to show the whole thing. The resulting dialog box can easily grow taller than your screen, which is a good argument for either (a) closing the panels you don’t need at any given moment or (b) running out to buy a really gigantic monitor.And as long as you’re taking the trouble to read this caption, here’s a tasty bonus: There’s a secret command called Get Summary Info. Highlight a group of icons, press Control-⌘-I, and marvel at the special Get Info box that tallies up their sizes and other characteristics.

    Figure 2-12. Top: The Get Info window can be as small as this, with all its information panes collapsed. Bottom: Or, ...

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