Taking the time to set up your Finder preferences can increase your work productivity with better organization and having what you need at your fingertips. If you take a few moments to customize what you show on your desktop and sidebar, it will give you quicker and easier access to your files.
Open Finder and then select Finder from the menu bar above, and then select Preferences.
When the Finder Preferences window opens, you’ll see four tabs along the top: General, Tags, Sidebar and Advanced. We’ll begin with the General tab.
In the first section, you can select what items to show on your desktop. You may select your Hard disks, External disks, CDs, DVDs, iPods and any connected servers by placing a checkmark in the appropriate box(s).
In the next section, choose what you want your Finder to display when it first opens. Select the drop-down menu and it will display a list to choose from. As an example, on my Mac, I select it to show my desktop because all my stuff is right there. At the bottom of the menu, select “Other.”
In the window that opens, you can select folders or files that may be saved in other folders. As an example, if you select “Applications,” you can then select “Utilities.” Select “Choose” at the bottom. Now, when you open your Finder, it will display the utilities folder and the contents of that folder. Make your choice and then select “Choose.”
Next, select the “Sidebar” tab at the top. The Sidebar is designed to give you one-click access to folders, files and apps. As an alternative to adding more apps to your Sidebar, you can add them to the Dock where their access may be a little easier and faster.
Here, you can checkmark the items you want to appear in your Sidebar. Select the items you use most often and keep in mind, as you add things to your Sidebar, the list (box) becomes longer, possibly making the display of all those items counterproductive. Make your choices and then close the Finder window.
If you realize that you don’t use your Mac’s Sidebar, or you want to have more screen space, you can hide it to give you more room. Open Finder, select “View” and then select “Hide Sidebar.”
For more than 15 years, Scott Lindsay has helped thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 500 articles about Apple and Microsoft software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@live.com.