Mac Finder with These Easy Sidebar Tweaks

Mac Finder1

The Mac Finder sidebar is a handy list of commonly used drives, network locations, and folders. Apple pre-populates it with what it considers to be most useful items for most users. There’s no reason not to add, rearrange, or remove items. Setting it up just the way you like it is a key to productivity after all.

Hide or Show the Sidebar’s Default Items

Hide or Show the Sidebar's Default Items

Launch a Finder window by clicking on a vacant area of the desktop or by clicking its icon in the Dock.

By selecting ‘Preferences’ from the Finder menu open it.

Tap the ‘Sidebar’ icon in the Preferences window.

As appropriate, remove or place a checkmark from the list of items in the sidebar.

Close the Preferences window.

To experiment with the items in the list feel free. You can return to the Finder preferences at any time. Also modify the show/hide details.

Add a File or Folder

Add a File or Folder

You can add your most often used files or folders to the sidebar. To keep them a mouse tap away whenever you open a Finder window.

By clicking its icon in the Dock open a Finder window. Tap on a free space on your Mac’s desktop. Tap and drag a file or folder to the sidebar. A horizontal line appears indicating the location the file or folder occupies when you release the mouse button. You need to hold down the Command or Cloverleaf key with OS X Yosemite, macOS Sierra, and OS X El Capitan when you drag a file or folder to the Finder’s sidebar.

Where you want it to appear, position the file or folder, and then release the mouse button. There are some restrictions on where you can place a file or folder. You can only place an item in the ‘Location’ section of the sidebar in Tiger(10.4.x). The upper section is reserved for network devices and drives. You can only add items to the ‘Places’ section of the sidebar. Placement is limited to the Favorites section in OS X Yosemite and later.

Add an Application to the Sidebar

Add an Application to the Sidebar

The sidebar can hold more than just files and folders although this isn’t commonly known. It can also hold the applications you use most regularly. Follow the same steps as adding a file or folder. On concord select an application instead of a file or folder. You may need to hold down the Command key as you drag an application to the sidebar depending on the version of OS X you are using.

Depending on the version of the Mac OS which you are using to make matters even more interesting, you may need to set the Finders view setting to List before you can drag an app to the sidebar.

Rearrange the Sidebar

Rearrange the Sidebar

You can rearrange most items in the sidebar as you see fit. Though each version of OS X has various restrictions. Simply tap and drag a sidebar item to its new target location. The other items rearranges themselves to make room for the item being moved.

Remove Items

Remove Items

Quickly the sidebar can get cluttered like the desktop. By tap and dragging its icon out of the sidebar, you can remove a file, application, or folder. This disappears in a puff of smoke. Though, the item itself is still safe in its original location only the sidebar alias was incinerated.

You can remove an item from the Finder sidebar by right-tap on the item if you don’t mind forgoing the dramatic puff of smoke. Selecting Remove from Sidebar in the popup menu.

Hide the Sidebar

Hide the Sidebar

OS X 10.4.x allows you to hide the sidebar. OS X 10.5 doesn’t give you this option.

Look for the little dimple in the bar to hide the sidebar in OS X 10.4.x that separates the sidebar and the Finder window. Tap and drag the dimple all the way to the left to hide the sidebar. Tap and drag it to the right to reveal or resize the sidebar.

Hiding or showing the Finder’s sidebar in later versions of OS X. Became a menu item in the Finder’s View menu.

More Finder Makeovers

You can take to making the Finder best suit your needs customizing the Finder sidebar is just one of many steps. You can discover many more methods of Finder customization in the guide.

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