Oh, dear Mac user, do you love the Finder? Most of us have one of three feelings about the Finder. We love it. We hate it. We just don’t care one way or the other.
For all it’s faults, the Mac’s Finder is still what most of use to navigate the Mac, find files and folders, to go where the action is. What’s the Finder alternative? There are two. One is powerful and geeky. One is slim, lean, simple, elegant. Choose wisely.
The Geeky, Power User Way To Find
Finding files and folders on your Mac is easy enough in the Finder. Click to open folders, scroll, double click to open more folders, scroll, repeat, rinse, ad nauseam. It’s the Mac way.
If you’re inclined to get your geek on, you need more power, more options.
Path Finder is the power Mac users method of finding files and folders and performing any one of many dozens of other navigation and utility tasks.
When it comes to navigating, I like tabs—tabs in my browser, tabs in app preferences, tabs in my Finder. Path Finder is the Finder replacement app that Apple would have made if they hadn’t made the Finder so lame.
Tabs, bookmarks, dual panes, terminal and text access, app launcher, integrated file compression, create disk images, and keyboard shortcuts are just a few of the cool ways to get all powerful using a Finder replacement.
Finder or Path Finder. Two basic file and folder exploration methods. Or, you can go in another direction with six new ways. If the Mac’s Finder is too cumbersome, too messy, has too many options, you need something else that thinks different—as in simple.
Explore The Mac The Windows Way
It’s been said that half of all Mac users now have switched from Windows PCs. Navigating a PC’s file and folder structure isn’t all that different from the Mac. PC users have Windows Explorer.
For all our Windows cousins who want something familiar, try Macintosh Explorer. If Microsoft did a tabbed file browser the right way, it would be Mac Explorer.
Mac Explorer is the first tabbed file browser for Mac users. It comes with a Favorites Shelf (#6) for files, folders, and apps you use the most. Like the Mac’s Finder, Explorer has contextual menus for specific file actions.
Notice the circled arrows in the left column? That’s like navigating in Windows Explorer. Macintosh Explorer’s Navigation Method (#5) drills down into volumes and folders to find files.
One major difference in Explorer is that the user interface isn’t complicated. The Toolbar is simple and easy to understand.
Click on any file or folder for additional information. Even better, Explorer windows can multiply and become Tabs (#4), similar to the page tabs in Safari or Firefox. That gives you multiple ways to navigate your Mac’s file system.
Explorer provides five different File Views (#3)—icon view, list view, detailed list view (my favorite after the Finder’s column view), compact list view, and thumbnail view.
File Banks (#2) is a unique feature to Mac Explorer.
Move, copy, and store multiple files as if they were a single file sitting on a shelf to be used when you want or need them.
Even better, Explorer lets you change Info for multiple files at one time (#1), a batch operation that’s actually easier than doing one file at a time in Finder. If you’re a long time Mac user, you may find Macintosh Explorer to be a bit simplistic, despite some handy features.
If you’re from the Windows PC world, you’ll be right at home with Macintosh Explorer because it gives you a familiar interface to navigate files and folders on a Mac.