Configure The Finder Sidebar And See More In Lion [OS X Tips]

Configure The Finder Sidebar And See More In Lion [OS X Tips]Configure The Finder Sidebar And See More In Lion [OS X Tips]

Here is a useful tip for new Mac OS X Lion users that will show you how to configure what is visible in your Finder windows sidebar. I think this particular tip is most useful for people who are new to the Mac OS X especially people who have switched from a PC to a Mac.

Apple configures the defaults in the Finder sidebar to hide a lot of useful things, but not all of them in favorites, shared items, and devices. You can use any of these to navigate around the file system on your Mac and the more you have turned on the more you can see. Personally I like to turn them all on that way I don’t miss anything, but you can select them all, none, or a subset of the options available. Let me show you how.

If you haven’t already access Finder on your Mac, go to the Finder menu and select Preferences. If you would rather use the keyboard press Command+, while in Finder and Preferences will open. Now select he Sidebar tab which will look like the picture below.

Configure The Finder Sidebar And See More In Lion [OS X Tips]

You can use this tab in Preferences to select what items will appear in your Finder sidebar each time you open a new Finder window. All you have to do is check the boxes next to the items you want to see and uncheck the boxes for items you don’t want to see.

The next time you open a Finder window the items you want to see are displayed in the sidebar.

Configure The Finder Sidebar And See More In Lion [OS X Tips]

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  • Richard Brown

    Why bother blurring out the share and disk names when you leave enough clues to figure out what they are?  Just curious.

  • tekunoloji

    That’s nice David. But how can we bring the color back to our bland sidebar icons? How do we move the DEVICES section back to the top and not the bottom of the sidebar? Major annoyances for me in OS X LION.

    It’s like Apple’s sapping all the color out of it to deter people from looking at what’s actually on their computer. Much like how Full Screen Apps keep you locked into one app, for the most part with the ability to swipe to change.

    I don’t like this iPad/iPhone world in my OS X. iOS is fine on those devices, but it’s mucking up my workflow.

    Drop me a line David if you know of any workarounds. I remember Apple sucked the color out of iTunes’s icons, but there was a hack to restore’em. 

  • JOEY Alex

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://BídsFírst.Com

  • Dustin Moskowitz

    David, is there any way you know of to change the font size of the sidebar? In Snow Leopard, by sidebar text is smaller and more easily fits the screen. I just don’t know if that’s native or if I didn’t something years ago to change it. Thanks!

  • ALEX NICK

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://BídsFírst.Com

  • CollinMel

    + 1

    I too enjoy looking at what’s actually on my computer as well as the general computeriness of my computer.

    … suppose I’ll just have to open a few more Terminal windows to make up for it.

  • RamsayBerlin

    “How do we move the DEVICES section back to the top and not the bottom of the sidebar? Major annoyances for me in OS X LION.”

    I hear ya, bro’… There is no joy in Mudville these days.

  • William Lower

    Dustin, you can change the sidebar icon size under the General pane in System Preferences. I also found that I preferred the smaller icons for fitting more shortcuts in the Finder sidebar.

  • Lee Hinderstein

    How about Apple put the sidebar back the way it was with the drives at the top so people like me with multiple drives can access them.  Or at least make it more customizable. 

  • Lee Hinderstein

    I agree with Raymond Wong.  Bring some color back to the OS, now it looks like something Google or Samsung might release!

  • Lee Hinderstein

    YES!  I agree!  I access HD’s not the Home folder!  

  • Maurice Bélanger

    Drag them into your ‘Favorites’ and place them in the order you want.

  • tekunoloji

    Uh. It’s not as simple as that Maurice. I’m talking about external flash drives and hard disks that you plug in, not the Macintosh HD or anything that’s already partitioned on the drive.

    If you drag a mounted USB drive from the DEVICES section to Favorites, it doesn’t stay there. It disappears. Then you need to drag it back in from say the desktop.

  • Dustin Moskowitz

    Thanks William! Knew it had to be there somewhere, but I’m still working more in SL than I am in Lion right now.

  • mtm

    I also really want to have customisable icons/actual folder or app icons showing in the side bar.  Bring this back please!

  • Billmcintyre1983

    There should be a device made that can be easily accessible on the move so that the power of the computer is at your finger tips.

About the author

David W. MartinDavid W. Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the industry as a programmer, systems and business analyst, author, and consultant. David has written for CNET's iPhoneatlas.com, MacLife.com, CultofMac.com, BYTE.com and recently for aNewDoman.net. He comes to Cult of Mac's website with deep knowledge and passion for the all things Apple. Follow David on Twitter @david_w_martin or see what he's up to now at davidwmartin.com.

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