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Find large files in macOS

Posted in Finder Tips & Tricks

Whether you're feeling the pinch as hard drive space runs low or you're just wondering where all your disk space went, it's easy to find large files in macOS by using the built-in search tools.

Here's what to do:

• From the macOS Desktop, open any new Finder window
• Hit Command+F to bring up Search
• Click on "Kind" filter and select "Other", then select "File Size" from the attribute list
• Click on the second filter and choose "is greater than"
• In the third space, enter the size to search for anything greater than (ex: 100) and choose either MB or GB as the final filter

The file and app list below will automatically update as anything larger than the specified file size is found on the hard drive. Be sure that "This Mac" is selected if you're getting limited results, though you can also use the search limiters to find large files contained within single folders or user directories.

Want to use this feature to track down large files often? Click on the "Save" button in the upper right corner and you'll turn the File Size search into a Smart Folder that can be easily accessed from the sidebar for easy future retrieval, plus that folder will constantly be updated with large files only, making it a very useful way to instantly find any big item laying around on a Mac.

A common pit of enormous files is the user Downloads folder, when using the file size search don't be surprised if you run into a fair amount of .dmg and .zip files sitting idly in there that have long been forgotten.


Opening Recent Items in the Finder

Posted in Finder Tips & Tricks

In lots of places around your Mac, holding down the Command key while you're clicking on an item will give you info about where it lives rather than opening it. For example, you can Command-double-click a Spotlight result to open it in the Finder, or Command-click a Finder window's title to get a hierarchical view of where you are in your file system.

One of this feature's most useful implementations, though, is for the things you've accessed recently. If you click on the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your screen and choose Recent Items, you've got fast access to recent applications, servers, and documents that you've used. If you then hold down the Command key before you click on an application or a document, you'll see the menu change, and you'll be given the option to open the item in the Finder instead.


Quick print from Finder

Posted in Finder Tips & Tricks

Despite the promise long ago of the paperless office, we still need to print documents from our Macs at times. The usual launch an app to print a document routine works fine for that, but you can save a little time by printing your files directly from the Finder.

Printing a document without first launching the app that created it is easy. Just select the document and use the Command-P keyboard shortcut (or go the the File menu and choose Print). The default app for the file's format will launch, and in most cases will send the document to your default printer without any interaction.

Applications that expect more user input before printing, like professional design apps, will wait for you to configure your print settings before putting ink on paper. It adds back in an extra step, but for file formats that default to Preview, it's as simple as select-and-print.

Keep folders on top when sorting by name in Finder

Posted in Finder Tips & Tricks

macOS Sierra introduces many new features and refinements to Apple's desktop operating system platform, but one is particularly appreciated by Finder fans. As has been long offered in Windows, Sierra now lets users keep folders at the top of a Finder window when sorting files by name.

In OS X El Capitan and earlier, Finder sorts everything by name, mixing files and folders together. In macOS Sierra, there's a new option in the Finder preferences. With Finder selected as the active application, head to Finder > Preferences in the menu bar (or press the keyboard shortcut Command + Comma) to open the Finder preferences window and click on the Advanced tab.

You'll see a new option labeled "Keep folders on top when sorting by name". When this option is checked, Finder will sort folders by name separately at the top of the list and sort the remaining files by name at the bottom.

This is how File Explorer in Windows operates and it may be a preferred way to manage files in Finder for many people. Pre-Sierra users could still separate files and folders by configuring Finder to sort files by "Kind”, but this method sorted all files by their file type and wasn't always ideal. For longtime Mac users who prefer the old sorting method of mixing everything together, Apple thankfully retains the option to switch back. Just uncheck the "Keep folders on top when sorting by name" box in Finder preferences and file sorting in macOS Sierra will work like it used to in El Capitan and earlier.

Move a file by using the window title bar

Posted in Finder Tips & Tricks

Longtime Mac users are accustomed to moving files around in OS X by dragging and dropping them between folders and directories. Both of those methods work just fine to relocate files and move things around, but another lesser known option to move a file can be done when that file is currently open, just by using the files window title bar.

This is a fairly hidden feature in OS X, so if you've never seen file relocation done entirely through the documents active window titlebar before, don't be too surprised. Hidden or not though, you'll find it useful and a cinch to use.

• With a file open, click on the files name in the window title bar to reveal a contextual menu (be sure to click on the text name itself, not the little document icon).

• Click on the pulldown menu alongside “Where” (the location shown is where the file is currently located).

• Select the destination you want to move the file to from the list (including iCloud) or choose “Other...” to browse the file system and select somewhere specific.

• Click away from the title bars contextual menu to hide it and resume work within the document as usual.

That's it, the document has moved. Simply changing the “Where” selection will move the file to the chosen destination instantly. There's no confirmation, no dragging and dropping, nothing else is necessary to relocate the file, it will move immediately as the window title bar action is taken, to the location specified by “Where”.