Make Your Mac Sing! Newsletter 16
The Mysterious Finder
It’s been some time since my last newsletter. My last one was pre-pandemic. Let’s hope the next one doesn’t take as long to come out!
This time I want to talk about one of the features of the Mac that has long flied under the radar: The Finder. If you use a Mac you use it every day, but most people don’t realize it.
The Finder is how you manage and interact with your files. If you click on your Desktop, or open a folder, you are in Finder. If you have a lot of windows open in other programs, the easiest way to switch to the Finder is by clicking on it’s icon in the Dock (pictured above). I call it the “Happy Mac Face”. Others might refer to it as the smiling blue face.
The Finder Menu
Part of the Finder is the menu that stretches across the top of your screen.
When in the Finder, from left to right you see the Apple Menu, Finder, File, Edit, View, Go, Window, Help. If you switch to another program like Safari or Mail, you’ll see some of these menu items change to suit the given program. You can always tell what program you are currently in by looking to the right of the Apple Menu icon.
In the view of this laptop, from right to left in the menu you have Time, Date, Siri, Control Center, Spotlight, Time Machine, Wifi, Battery, VPN, Volume, Bluetooth and Airdrop. You may see additional third-party icons here as well. In this case we see Malwarebytes (a malware scanner that I refer to as “The Evil M”) and Dropbox. You may not see all of the icons shown here, as you can choose to display these or not. Some are left off by Default.
Very often when I am with a client they are trying to find a file. I ask them where they put it and they say it’s in Word, open Word, and start looking in Recent files. If its an older file, it may be gone from Recent files.
I liken this scenario to this. Imagine you are the editor of a large Metropolitan newspaper in a bygone era. You ask the cub reporter for that story they’ve worked on overnight. So they hand you the typewriter! Cub reporter fired! Word is the tool you used to create, edit and save the file you worked on. It is not the location of the file.
There is a better way! You will save so much time if you take advantage of Spotlight. Spotlight is how you search for just about anything on your computer. Not just files, but emails, Apps, and more. Click on the Spotlight icon (on the right of the menu), and you remember the name of the file, part of the name, or even a phrase inside the file, spotlight will give you the results.
If you are looking to open an App, the result will always be at the top of the search results. Just hit the return key, and it will open the program.
Narrow your search
If you think the file is within a certain folder, navigate to that folder. In the window at the top right is a search field. At the top of this window, It will state search “This Mac” and next to it the name of the current folder. Click on the name to narrow the search to that folder.
Next time we’ll talk about creating folders, moving files, and renaming.
Thanks and see you next time!