For those of you who use a Mac, you know that Finder is an integral part of the operating system, where you can access all your files and folders in an easy to use interface. As useful and easy as Finder is to use, as with anything, there are improvements that can be made. One company, BinaryAge, has developed a solution that brings a number of improvements to Finder with their program, TotalFinder. With my heavy usage of Macs, I decided to take the plunge and see what TotalFinder brings to the table for improving the functionality of Finder.
TotalFinder isn’t quite a standalone program, but rather an add-on for Finder that loads when you launch it. This way, TotalFinder does not modify the files for Finder on your Mac, just the current instance running in memory. You can opt to have the new icon for TotalFinder replace your traditional Finder icon in the dock, which is a slight modification to the graphic, but cool nonetheless. Aside from the neat new icon, TotalFinder also brings some great functionality to Finder.
Tabbed browsing is now part of Finder. Much like in web browsers, the tabs TotalFinder implements allows you to display multiple directories in one window, reducing the amount of screen clutter when you have a ton of open windows. With these tabs, you can perform a great number of actions like pulling tabs out into new windows, creating new tabs by dragging folders into the tab bar, and opening dual mode.
Dual mode is another feature, where two Finder windows are displayed together, side-by-side. I frequently use Finder like this, so having a way to automatically arrange the windows is great. Another thing that has somewhat irked me with Finder is how it organizes files and folders where they are mixed together. TotalFinder lets you sort the folders on top, much like Windows Explorer, which is much preferred, in my opinion. You can also easily show hidden files in the file system, which are the strange files you see when you look at a Mac drive in another OS.
Even with multiple Finder windows open, if you’re working in multiple programs, sometimes getting to the right Finder window can be a little tedious. Visor is a cool feature that allows you to access a Finder window from anywhere. With a simple keyboard shortcut, you can show and hide a Finder window that appears from the bottom of the screen. I find myself using this most of all, as I frequently use drag and drop when working within my programs. Visor gives me incredibly easy access to my files, and the added savings of seconds really makes a difference.
As TotalFinder continues to improve, several other features are “experimental” but with my testing in both Snow Leopard and Lion, they work fine. The one I use most is the addition of cut, copy, and paste options when a file or folder is right-clicked in Finder. One of the biggest gripes for Windows users that are converting to Mac is the lack of “cut” functionality, but TotalFinder brings it back, which I whole-heartedly support and use.
TotalFinder is a great addition to any Mac, and the price is reasonable at $18.00. Of course, if you want to try out TotalFinder before you commit, you can experiment by availing yourself to the 14-day trial. Either way, once you give TotalFinder a try, I’m sure you’ll be using it as part of your workflow.