Icon sizes are increased and decreased on the fly so you can see exactly what they will look like. If you want to adjust the size of Finder folder icons instead of just items on the desktop, you simply need to use the View Options settings panel from an open and active Finder window:. Big icons are hard to miss, and make it a bit easier to navigate things. Bonus tip: Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:. Combine this tip with increasing the desktop icon size or even making Mac OS X look like iOS to further simplify the user […].
Name required. Mail will not be published required. All Rights Reserved. One common thread in the following discussions is the availability of the View Options palette, which lets you set up the sorting, text size, icon size, and other features of each view, either one window at a time or for all windows. Apple gives you a million different ways to open View Options. From the top: Very full folders are best navigated in list or column views, but you may prefer to view emptier folders in icon or Cover Flow views, because larger icons are easier to preview and click.
Remember that in any view icon, list, column, or Cover Flow , you can highlight an icon by typing the first few letters of its name. In icon, list, or Cover Flow view, you can also press Tab to highlight the next icon in alphabetical order , or Shift-Tab to highlight the previous one. In icon view, every file, folder, and disk is represented by a small picture—an icon. This humble image, a visual representation of electronic bits and bytes, is the cornerstone of the entire Macintosh religion. Mac OS X draws those little icons using sophisticated graphics software. As a result, you can scale them to almost any size without losing any quality or clarity.
And now, in Snow Leopard, doing so is almost pitifully easy.
Change options for Icon, List, Column, or Gallery view in the Finder on Mac
For added fun, make little cartoon sounds with your mouth. Got a laptop? Then you can also make the icons larger or smaller by pinching or spreading two fingers on the trackpad, which may be quicker than fussing with the slider. The new slider bottom right lets you choose an icon size to suit your personality. In Snow Leopard, icons can be four times as large as before—an almost ridiculously large pixels square. Because you can make icons so enormous, you can actually watch movies, or read PDF and text documents, right on their icons. To check out this feature, make the icons at least about an inch tall 64 pixels square.
You can actually page through one of these documents right there on its icon, without having to open the program! If you Option-click the little and buttons on a PDF, PowerPoint, or Keynote icon preview, you jump to the first or last page or slide in the document. You can actually page through PDF and presentation icons, or play movies and sounds, right on their icons. Mac OS X offers a number of useful icon-view options, all of which are worth exploring. With one click on the Use as Defaults button described below , you can change the window view of 20, folders at once—to icon view, list view, or whatever you like.
The Always open in icon view option lets you override that master setting, just for this window. For example, you might generally prefer a neat list view with large text. But for your Pictures folder, it probably makes more sense to set up icon view, so you can see a thumbnail of each photo without having to open it. But the function is the same: As noted, Snow Leopard makes it super easy to make all your icons bigger or smaller; just drag the Icon size slider in the lower-right corner of the window. Listen up, you young whippersnappers! When I was your age, back when computers used Mac OS 9, you could control how closely spaced icons were in a window.
That feature disappeared—for seven years. But it finally returned to Mac OS X. But using this slider, you can adjust the type size. And for people with especially big or especially small screens—or for people with aging retinas—this feature is much better than nothing. In fact, you can actually specify a different type size for every window on your machine.
Why would you want to adjust the point size independently in different windows? Well, because you might want smaller type to fit more into a crammed list view without scrolling, while you can afford larger type in less densely populated windows. The View Options dialog box for an icon view window offers the chance to create colored backgrounds for certain windows or even to use photos as window wallpaper bottom. Using a photo may have a soothing, annoying, or comic effect—like making the icon names completely unreadable.
You now have all the handy, freely draggable convenience of an icon view, along with the more compact spacing of a list view. The info line lets you know how many icons are inside each without having to open it up. Now you can spot empties at a glance.
Graphics files. These display their dimensions in pixels. Sounds and QuickTime movies. The light-blue bonus line tells you how long the sound or movie takes to play. On compressed archives like. If you turn it off, then icons no longer look like miniature versions of their contents. Photos no longer look like tiny photos, PDF and Word documents no longer display their contents, and so on.
How to change an app icon on Mac
Everything takes on identical, generic icons one for all text documents, one for all JPEG photos, and so on. You might prefer this arrangement when, for example, you want to be able to pick out all the PDF files in a window full of mixed document types. You can fill the background of any icon view window on your Mac with a certain color—or even a photo. In fact, it can serve as a timesaving visual cue.
This is the standard option. When you click this button, you see a small rectangular button beside the word Color. Click it to open the Color Picker Uninstalling Software , which you can use to choose a new background color for the window. Incidentally, the Mac has no idea what sizes and shapes your window may assume in its lifetime. Therefore, Mac OS X makes no attempt to scale down a selected photo to fit neatly into the window. If you have a high-res digital camera, therefore, you see only the upper-left corner of a photo in the window. For better results, use a graphics program to scale the picture down to something smaller than your screen resolution.
This harmless-looking button can actually wreak havoc on—or restore order to—your kingdom with a single click. First, you can set up individual windows to be weirdo exceptions to the rule; see Always open in icon view on page Second, you can remove any departures from the default window view—after a round of disappointing experimentation on a particular window, for example—using a secret button. Now hold down the Option key. In general, you can drag icons anywhere in a window. For example, some people like to keep current project icons at the top of the window and move older stuff to the bottom.
You can even specify how tight or loose that grid is. Aligning individual icons to the grid. Aligning all icons to the grid. These same commands appear in the shortcut menu when you Control-click or right-click anywhere inside an icon-view window, which is handier if you have a huge monitor. If you press Option, then the Mac swaps the wording of the command. Clean Up changes to read Clean Up Selection, and vice versa. Note, by the way, that the grid alignment is only temporary. As soon as you drag icons around, or add more icons to the window, the newly moved icons wind up just as sloppily positioned as before you tidied up.
To solve that problem, use one of the sorting options described next. Sorting all icons for the moment. Use this method to place the icons as close as possible to one another within the window, rounding up any strays.
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Note that Snow Leopard offers keyboard shortcuts for these sorting commands. Sorting all icons permanently. You can tell your Mac to maintain the sorting and alignment of all icons in the window, present and future.
Now if you add more icons to the window, they jump into correct alphabetical position; if you remove icons, the remaining ones slide over to fill in the gaps. This setup is perfect for neat freaks. To make it happen, open the View menu, hold down the Option key, and choose from the Keep Arranged By submenu choose Name, Date Modified, or whatever sorting criterion you like. Use either the View menu or the View Options window right to turn on permanent cleanliness mode.
For example, when you open the View menu, you see either Arrange By which temporarily sorts the current batch of icons or Keep Arranged By which locks present and future icons into a sorted grid. But the point here is that pressing the Option key once the View menu is open changes the command—from Arrange By to Keep Arranged By, or vice versa. Just click the desktop before using the View menu or the View Options dialog box. Each time you click inside a window, the View Options dialog box remains in front, changing to reflect the settings of the window you just clicked.
Incidentally, you can get rid of the View Options box the same way you summoned it: In windows that contain a lot of icons, the list view is a powerful weapon in the battle against chaos.
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Very faint alternating blue and white background stripes help you read across the columns. You get to decide how wide your columns should be, which of them should appear, and in what order except that Name is always the first column. Click Name for alphabetical order, Date Modified to view the newest first, Size to view the largest files at the top, and so on. It shows you which way the list is being sorted. When the triangle points upward, the oldest files, smallest files, or files beginning with numbers or the letter A appear at the top of the list, depending on which sorting criterion you have selected.
It may help you to remember that when the smallest portion of the triangle is at the top , the smallest files are listed first when viewed in size order. To reverse the sorting order, click the column heading a second time. Now the newest files, largest files, or files beginning with the letter Z appear at the top of the list.
The tiny triangle turns upside-down. You control the sorting order of a list view by clicking the column headings top. Click a second time to reverse the sorting order bottom. In its official documents, Apple calls these buttons disclosure triangles ; internally, the programmers call them flippy triangles. Click the triangle again to collapse the folder listing. A subtle but nifty touch: Or press the equivalent keystrokes: By selectively clicking flippy triangles, you can in effect peer inside two or more folders simultaneously, all within a single list view window.
You can move files around by dragging them onto the tiny folder icons. To do so, drag it directly upward onto the column headings area where it says Name, for example. When you release the mouse, you see that the file is no longer inside the expanded folder. Date Modified. This date-and-time stamp indicates when a document was last saved. Many an up-to-date file has been lost because someone spotted a very old date on a folder and assumed that the files inside were equally old.
Instead, the date on a folder indicates only when items were last moved into or out of that folder. The actual files inside may be much older, or much more recent. Date Created. This date-and-time stamp shows when a document was first saved. The checkboxes you turn on in the View Options dialog box determine which columns of information appear in a list view window. Many people live full and satisfying lives with only the three default columns—Date Modified, Kind, and Size—turned on. But the other columns can be helpful in special circumstances; the trick is knowing what information appears there.
The keystrokes that let you open and close flippy triangles in a list view are worth committing to memory. The result, in other words, is a longer list that may involve several levels of indentation. Here again, adding the Option key expands or collapses all levels of folders within the selected one. Suppose, for example, that you want to find out how many files are in your Pictures folder. You could perform the entire routine from the keyboard like this: Select the Pictures folder by typing the letter P. You may have to wait a moment for the Mac to open every subfolder of every subfolder.
But eventually, the massive list appears, complete with many levels of indentation. For disks and folders, you see only a dash—at first. You can, however, instruct the Mac to reveal their sizes, as described on Adjusting Column Widths. In this column, you can read what kind of file each icon represents.
This column displays the version numbers of your programs. For folders and documents, you just see a dash. This rarely seen column can actually be among the most useful. The Comments column is often worth turning on. If your monitor is big enough, you can make the Comments column wide enough to show several paragraphs of text, all in a single line—enough to reveal the full life history of each icon.
Labels are colors and identifying phrases that you can slap onto icons, wherever they appear, to help you categorize and group them. For details, see Broken Aliases. Always open in list view. Turn on this option to override your system-wide preference setting for all windows. See Always open in icon view on page 35 for details. Icon size. These two buttons offer you a choice of icon sizes for the current window: Text size. As described on Text size , you can change the type size for your icon labels, either globally or one window at a time.
Show columns. Use relative dates. In a list view, the Date Modified and Date Created columns generally display information in a format like this: Calculate all sizes.
Setting Icon View Options in Mac OS X - dummies
See the box on Calculate All Sizes. Show icon preview. Exactly as in icon view, this option turns the icons of graphics files into miniatures of the photos or images within. Use as Defaults. Click to make your changes in the View Options box apply to all windows on your Mac.
Option-click this button to restore a wayward window back to your defaults. However, you can rearrange the other columns just by dragging their gray column headers horizontally.
Where Mac System Icons & Default Icons Are Located in Mac OS X
Doing so makes the column to the left of your cursor wider or narrower. Best tip ever: If you double-click that little dividing line, the column to its left gets exactly wide enough to accommodate the longest bit of text within it. If you make a column too narrow, Mac OS X shortens the file names, dates, or whatever by removing text from the middle.
An ellipsis … appears to show you where the missing text would have appeared. It would also hide the three-letter extensions , such as Thesis. After a moment, a yellow, floating balloon appears—something like a tooltip in Microsoft programs—to identify the full name.
In fact, now you can move your mouse up or down a list over truncated file names; their tooltip balloons appear instantaneously. This trick works in list, column, or Cover Flow views—and in Save and Open dialog boxes, for that matter. When I sort my list view by size, I see only dashes for folder sizes. What am I doing wrong? When viewing a Finder window, you see a Size statistic for each file. Most Mac fans study this anomaly only momentarily, scratch their chins, and then get back to their work. It can take a computer a long time to add up the sizes of all files inside a folder. On occasion, however, you really do want to see how big your folders are.
In the Mac operating systems of days gone by, this act would have caused a massive slowdown of the entire computer. But remember that Mac OS X is multithreaded; it has the opposite of a one-track mind. Now consider this anomaly: The goal of column view is simple: The first pane not counting the Sidebar shows whatever disk or folder you first opened. When you click a disk or folder in this list once , the second pane shows a list of everything in it. The other panes slide to the left, sometimes out of view.
Use the horizontal scroll bar to bring them back. If the rightmost folder contains pictures, sounds, Office documents, or movies, you can look at them or play them, right there in the Finder. You can drag this jumbo preview icon anywhere—into another folder or to the Trash, for example. As soon as you click a different folder in one of the earlier panes, the panes to its right suddenly change, so that you can burrow down a different rabbit hole. The beauty of column view is, first of all, that it keeps your screen tidy.
It effectively shows you several simultaneous folder levels but contains them within a single window. Second, column view provides an excellent sense of where you are. Efficiency fans can operate this entire process by keyboard alone. Each press highlights the first icon in the next or previous column. You can use any of the commands in the Go menu, or their keyboard equivalents, or the icons in the Sidebar, to fill your columns with the contents of the corresponding folder—Home, Applications, Pictures, and so on.
It retraces your steps backward. You can repeat this command until you return to the column setup that first appeared when you switched to column view. This is really tweaky and geeky, but take a look: It can be either solid dark or hollow. If you click a folder, that triangle is dark.
At that point, pressing Tab makes it darken. Who cares? Well, it actually makes a difference here and there. When the triangle is dark, the Mac is trying to tell you that the next column to the right is actually selected. The number of columns you can see without scrolling depends on the width of the window. In no other view are the zoom and resize controls so important. You can make the columns wider or narrower—either individually or all at once—to suit the situation, according to this scheme:.
What you want to do most of the time is adjust one column. Adding the Option key as you drag the handle lets you adjust all columns at once. To make all the columns wider or narrower simultaneously , hold down the Option key as you drag that right-side handle. To make a column precisely as wide as necessary to reveal all the names of its contents, double-click a right-side handle.
Always open in column view. Once again, this option lets you override your systemwide preference setting for all windows. Whatever point size you choose here affects the type used for icons in all column views. Your choices are things like Name sorted by the name of the files or folders alphabetically and Date Modified sorted by the date each file or folder was last modified. Arrange Items To arrange items in a view, click on the Item Arrangement button.
Clicking on this displays a pop-up menu with a list of options, like arranging by name or file size. In the example below, the top view shows the file icons arranged by name while the lower view shows files arranged by size:. Arranging items by name [top] and size [bottom]. Those with checkmarks next to their name are the ones that are visible — choosing a column name will display it add a checkmark or hide it remove the checkmark:.
Icon, List, Column or Cover Flow. When viewing a folder by icons, you can change the icon size, grid spacing, text size and more. For List or Cover view, you can change the icon size, text size, columns displayed and more. The options are the same for the List and Cover Flow views:. For Column view, the options are much more limited.
You can change text size, and whether to display icons and a preview column. All columns in a Column view display the selected options:.