When you’re browsing a bunch of files in a Finder window, you can choose whether to view them as icons, as a list, or in columns. This tip shows you how to quickly switch from one view to another.
Here are the different views available, so you know which is which.
First, icons view. Should be familiar to former Windows users.
Next, list view. Again, this is pretty familiar to Windows users who will have seen something very similar before.
Finally, columns view. This probably looks weird to newcomers because they won’t have encountered anything like it on Windows before. Clicking on a folder displays its contents in the column to the right. Clicking on a file displays a preview of the file, and some metadata.
Different people prefer different views. And sometimes, it’s helpful to switch between views as you move around. You might want to look at a folder of images in icon view, but a folder of text documents in list view.
In any Finder window, just press Command+1 to switch to icons view; Command+2 to switch to list view; and Command+3 to switch to columns view. You can switch around from one to another whenever you like. No harm will come to your files, because all you’re doing is changing the way you view them.
One thing to note, though. Let’s say you normally use icons view for everything, but then you use this trick to switch to columns view for one folder. When you’re done, you close that Finder window and forget about it. Next time you open a new one, it’s in columns view! That’s not what you wanted.
This is because OS X remembers the view you used last in Finder, and uses that view again next time. To get back to the view you prefer, just hit Command+1 (or Command+2 or Command+3).
Personally, I use list view everywhere, except when importing photos from my camera, when I switch to icons view and with the icons stretched very large. This makes it easy to weed out the useless images before importing them.
Update: I forgot to mention – CoverFlow view hasn’t been forgotten. We’ll look at it in detail in the next tip.