Master The Option Key In OS X Finder [OS X Tips]

Apple-Keyboard-Option-Key

The Option key is a powerful ally in the transition from new, beginner user of OS X to the power user that you want to be. There are a ton of hidden features in the Finder alone that are hidden behind the underrated and unassuming Option key.

Here are some of the more useful ones.

De-Select All The Files
Makes sense, right?

Makes sense, right?

When you open up a Finder window with files in it, you can hit Command-A to Select All the items in the window, right? However, if you add Option key in, Command-Option-A, it will Deselect all the items.

Quickly Move To The Search Field
Hit Command-Option-F to skip the Spotlight window

Hit Command-Option-F to skip the Spotlight window

Want to quickly go to the search field in a Finder window? Usually, Command-F will open a new Finder window defaulting to Search view, but press Command-Option-F instead and your cursor will jump straight to the “Search” box without opening a new Spotlight window.

Quickly Close or Minimize Multiple Windows
Or, Command-Option-W to close them all.

Or, Command-Option-W to close them all.

Got a bunch of Finder windows open? Simply hit Command-Option-M to minimize them, and Command-Option-W to close them all. You can do the same for any open app, just click on the app icon in the Dock and use the same keybaord shortcuts. Magic!

Full Disclosure
Open all the things.

Open all the things.

Usually, when you’re in List View, clicking on a little triangle next to a folder will open it and only it. If you want to open all the nsted folders inside, however, simply add the Option key to the mix. Option-Click that little disclosure triangle and it will open all the stuff inside, too.

No More Trash Dialog
Get rid of this thing with a quick Option key click.

Get rid of this thing with a quick Option key click.

If you want to empty the Trash, you can hit Command-Shift-Delete. Typically, you’ll get a warning dialog box, asking if you’re sure you want to do so. If you want to skip this dialog box, add in the Option key, with Command-Shift-Option-Delete, and you’ll skip that dialog. Of course, you can also right click on the Trash icon to Empty it, with the Option key skipping the dialog box, here, too.

Related
  • bunnyhero

    here’s one i only learned recently: move item instead of copy.

    1) select a file in the finder, press command-C to copy.

    2) open the destination folder. now, if you hit command-V, you will paste a copy of the original item here. hold down the option key, though, and the copy becomes a *move*– the item vanishes from its original location. you can also see the change in the edit menu: “paste item” becomes “move item here.”

  • wytchkraft_corp

    zooming into images directly on Preview… hit space to preview an image, then when you press the option key a little + sign appears an you can click to zoom. cmd+option+slick to zoom out to normal view.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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