Supertip: Make Finder Your Hub – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 163Supertip: Make Finder Your Hub

Finder is much more flexible than you might realize. Its toolbar and sidebar offer significant potential for boosting productivity.

Creating a Copy of the Dock

You can drag and drop practically anything onto the Finder toolbar to create a shortcut for quick access. For example, you can drag an application icon there, and it will act like an icon in the Dock, so you can click it to launch the app and drag and drop files onto it for opening. You can even replicate your entire set of Dock icons, or at least the key applications you use daily, if there’s enough space.

File, Folder, and Storage Device Shortcuts

You can also drag data files and folders to the toolbar that, when clicked, will open instantly. Removable storage devices like USB memory sticks can also be dragged there—just click and drag their entry from beneath the Devices list in Finder.

You can drag and drop folders to the Favorites section of the Finder sidebar to create shortcuts there.

Printing Easily

You can also add to the Finder toolbar a shortcut to your printer(s), which will let you drag and drop files to instantly print them or allow you to click the icon to see the print queue. Just open System Preferences (Apple menuSystem Preferences), click Print & Scan, and then drag and drop any of the printer(s) from the list to the toolbar of any open Finder window.

Adding System Preferences Shortcuts

It’s also possible to add entries from within System Preferences to the Finder’s toolbar or sidebar. Follow the instructions in “Adding Specific System Preferences Icons to the Dock,” in Tip 244, Get Quick Access to System Preferences. However, rather than dragging the pref files to the Dock, drag them to the Finder’s toolbar or sidebar instead.

Removing a Toolbar Entry

To remove an icon you’ve added, just hold down Command and drag the icon up and away from the toolbar in the case of toolbar icons or to the left and away from Finder in the case of sidebar icons. The icon will disappear in a puff of smoke (literally, although don’t worry—only the shortcut will be deleted).

You can also delete default toolbar entries this way, such as the Search box, which will free up a lot more space for your own icons.

To restore the default set of icons to the Finder toolbar at any point, right-click in the toolbar area, and then click Customize Toolbar in the menu that appears. Then in the drop-down dialog box, drag and drop the default icon set to the toolbar over what’s already there.