10 Tips For Managing Files or Folders in the Finder On Your Mac

By | March 29, 2022

Improve your file management on Mac with these useful Finder tips.

Finder is Apple’s file management app for macOS. At first glance, this application looks like any other tool you use to browse the contents of your operating system, much like Windows File Explorer, and in many ways it is. However, if you dig beneath the surface, you’ll find some useful features that make Finder special.

Knowing what your apps can do creates a more satisfying macOS experience and helps you get the most out of Apple’s built-in tools. Here, we’ll list 10 Finder tips that you may or may not know about.

Create New Folder With Selected Files

Maybe you have a pile of photos or documents that need to form their own folder. You can do this the easy way, or the easier way.

Traditionally, you could create a new folder and then drag and drop files in it. This method is quite simple, but it could be simpler. Instead, you can select all the relevant files and have them create their own new folder by following these steps:

  • Select each relevant file.
  • Control-click the selected file or navigate to the menu File.
  • choose New Folder with Selection.
  • Enter a new folder name.
  • Press Enter.

Your files will now move to the newly created folder.

Cut or Move Files in Finder

Although copy and paste in the Finder is a fairly straightforward process, the method for cutting or moving is unclear. Luckily, once you know how, using this feature is as easy as pressing a few buttons. To cut or move in the Finder, follow these steps:

  • Select the file you want to move.
  • Copy using Cmd + C or Edit > Copy “File name”.
  • Navigate to the destination destination.
  • Move files using Cmd + Option + V. Or, click menu Edit while holding down the button Options and select Move Items Here.

As you can see, Finder doesn’t have a cut option, but move achieves the same result.

Rename Multiple Files

Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you need to rename multiple files at once. Normally, you might process each file individually, but, in some cases, batch renaming is a more useful solution. You can replace text, add text, or choose a custom format.

To rename multiple files in the Finder, follow these steps:

  • Select the relevant file.
  • Control-click the selected file or navigate to the menu File.
  • choose Rename.
  • Choose rename type: Replace Text, Add Text, or Format.
  • Complete all fields.
  • Click Rename.

Change File and Folder Icon

Sometimes you might want an item to stand out from the crowd, or maybe you’re a clutter agent and want to confuse someone by making files look like folders and vice versa. Whatever your goal, you can change the icon in the Finder with these simple steps:

  • Copy the item with the desired icon, or other image, to the clipboard.
  • Select the file or folder you want to change.
  • Control-click the item or navigate to the menu File.
  • choose Get Info.
  • Click the icon in the window Get Info.
  • Paste with Cmd + V or Edit > Paste.

The icon should now change to the image you pasted in its place. When using an image, you must open the file itself and copy the image. If you just copy the icon, that’s what will appear when you press paste.

Use Tags for Color Code

Tagging is the best way to keep track of files. Firstly, items with color tags are easy to identify in a large list, and secondly, the Finder’s search function allows you to find files with the same tags. Here are the steps for marking:

  • Select the relevant item.
  • Control-click selection, navigate to File, or click Edit Tags icon in the Finder control bar.
  • Select the desired tag.

To find tagged files, type the tag names red, blue, important, etc. and select the suggestions that appear below the search box.

Create Smart Folders

Smart folders are a useful way to automatically manage files. For example, you can set a parameter that states all PNG images with “screen shot” in the filename will appear in a specific folder.

When you add additional items to your Mac with the same variables, macOS automatically includes them with the other files. Follow these steps to create a smart folder:

  • Navigate to menu File Finders.
  • Click New Smart Folder.
  • Type the desired parameter into the box Search.
  • Select the desired variable.
  • Click Save.
  • Enter the folder name and location.
  • Click Save.

Automation is the main feature here, and you can set some conditions and create some pretty complex smart folders when needed.

Folder Lock

Locking a folder is useful when multiple people are using the same login or if you tend to accidentally dump your files. The locked folder will prompt you for the admin password if you try to delete anything in it, and it won’t let you add new items until it’s unlocked.

To lock a folder, follow these steps:

  • Select the relevant folder.
  • Control-click or navigate to menu File.
  • choose Get Info.
  • Check the box Locked in the info window.

To unlock a folder, you can uncheck the option when needed.

Compress Files

The compression tools in macOS serve a variety of purposes. First, as the name suggests, this feature reduces file size by compressing items into a ZIP archive. Second, the tool allows you to quickly combine multiple items, which is useful when sending a large number of attachments.

Follow these steps to compress your files:

  • Select all relevant files.
  • Control-click or navigate to File.
  • Click Compress.

Your compressed items will appear as Archive.zip, which you can rename if needed.

Check and Access Folder Structure

Navigating to another location in the current folder structure may seem like a simple tip, but the method for doing this is not clear. To view and access the folder structure on macOS, follow these steps:

  • Control-click the name of the current folder in the Finder control bar.
  • Select the folder within the structure you want to view.

There he is. Simple but sweet, these tips can save you a lot of time if you are someone who has to move folders frequently. Knowing the right Finder shortcuts can make life a lot easier.

Show or Hide File Name Extensions

If you need to rename a file, having a visible extension can be useful. However, sometimes extensions can get in the way and make renaming items tedious. Fortunately, on macOS, you can customize how the Finder displays filenames. Use these steps to change the settings for all files:

  • Navigate to Finder > Preferences > Advanced.
  • Check or uncheck Show all filename extensions.

If you want to change settings for only one file, the steps are slightly different:

  • Control-click or select the relevant file.
  • Click Get Info from the Control-click menu or File.
  • Check or uncheck Hide extensions.

You Can Always Know More

While the finder is an intuitive tool, some of the more useful features are not obvious. Creating a new folder with selected items makes archiving easy, and knowing how to cut or move files can save time and effort. Plus, the batch rename tool in macOS helps label larger collections, and smart tagging and folders make finding items easier.

Changing icons for practical or malicious purposes is another useful feature, as is the ability to lock folders. In addition, the macOS compression tool makes for smaller file sizes and ease of distribution. The ability to show or hide file extensions is another useful feature.

Lastly, using a simple Control-click on the name of the current location to access the folder structure is a real time-saving tip.

We’ve covered some of the Finder’s useful features, but, like anything, there’s always more to learn. Keep reading, exploring, and tinkering, and you’ll soon be a macOS master.