Accessing Shared Files

The previous pages have described setting up a Mac so people at other computers can access its files. There’s an easy, limited way (use the Public folder) and a more elaborate way (turn on sharing settings for each folder individually).

Now comes the payoff to both methods: sitting at another computer and connecting to the one you set up. There are two ways to go about it: You can use the Sidebar, or you can use the older, more flexible Connect to Server command. The following pages cover both methods.

Connection Method A: Use the Sidebar

Suppose, then, that you’re seated in front of your Mac, and you want to see the files on another Mac on the network. Proceed like this:

  • 1. Open any Finder window.

    In the Shared category of the Sidebar at the left side of the window, icons for all the computers on the network appear. See Figure 15-8.


    The same Sidebar items show up in the Save and Open dialog boxes of your programs, too, making the entire network available to you for opening and saving files.

    If you don’t see a certain Mac’s icon here, it might be turned off, it might not be on the network, or it might have File Sharing turned off.


    Or it might not have the right file-sharing type turned on. To check, open System Preferences→Sharing; click Sharing and then Options. You’ll see checkboxes for AFP and SMB. Your computers can’t see each other if they don’t have one of these options in common.

    If you don’t see any computers at all in the Sidebar, then your computer ...

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