Find Docs by Zooming – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 91Find Docs by Zooming

Quick Look offers a fantastic way to preview documents (see Exploring OS X: Quick Look), but there’s an even faster way to look inside many documents at once using Finder and its Icon view feature. This can be very useful if you’re trying to locate a file based on its contents. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Use Finder to browse the directory where the files are located, then switch to Icon view (select Viewas Icons, or hold down Command and tap 1).

  2. Activate the Finder status bar by clicking ViewStatus bar.

  3. Drag the slider at the bottom right of the Finder window to its right extremity. This will make the file icons as big as they can be and also—crucially—provide readable previews of their contents. Make the Finder window bigger by dragging its edges if you can’t see all of each icon.

  4. Click ViewArrange byKind. This will sort the files into horizontal “shelves” according to their file type (pictures, PDFs, Word files, and so on).

  5. Scroll up and down through the shelves and left and right through the icons to view each file’s contents (if you’re using a standard PC mouse without a horizontal scrolling feature, you can use the cursor keys to highlight each file and navigate through them in that way). You should see enough of the file’s contents (albeit with small text) to know what’s in each file. PDF files and Word document icons will have two arrows on them at the bottom of their icons to advance forward/backward in the pages of the documents (sadly, spreadsheets and presentations don’t feature this!).

To restore to Finder the default view settings without huge icons, open the View properties dialog box (ViewShow View Options or Command+J); then when the dialog box appears, hold down Option. This will change the button at the bottom to Restore to Defaults. Click it. Close the View dialog, and then click ViewArrange byName.