Give your Mac a shot in the arm with XtraFinder

June 1, 2012 – 12:44 by in Tips Print Share No Comment

It may not be the sexiest feature in OS X, but there’s little doubt of the importance of Finder to your day-to-day computing. Each iteration of OS X comes and goes, tweaks and refines Finder that little bit more, and yet along come developers who take the Apple ethos that little bit further and find tweaks to make things just work.

Most of these Finder add-ons or plug-ins don’t come free, but if you’re prepared to miss out on some higher end features like tabbed Finder windows, then you can give Finder a welcome shot in the arm for no cost at all with the help of XtraFinder 0.5.

The software comes in .pkg format – double-click to install it, and it’ll restart Finder and sit unobtrusively in the background. If you’re not aware of what to look for, you might not even notice it’s there, but take the time to dig a little deeper and you’ll like what you find.

Open XtraFinder's preferences to see all the extra features it can add to Finder.

There are two noticeable changes – first, you’ll see folders now appear at the top of all Finder windows, while clicking the green zoom button now maximises all windows to fill the entire screen. Select View > Show Path Bar and you’ll see the familiar Path Bar appear. Now, while it’s normally possible to drag files into different folders on the Path Bar, XtraFinder adds one nifty new feature – it’s now spring-loaded, meaning that if you drag a folder or file on to any part of the path and wait a second or two, the Finder window will jump to that location.

Open Finder’s View menu and you’ll discover more useful additions – options for showing hidden items and collapsing all expanded folders, plus refreshing the current folder. Even more extras appear when you right-click a file or folder – Copy to… and Move to… provide an alternative means of shunting files around your system without having to open a second Finder window. Contents allows you to view inside a folder via a sub-menu – you can drill right down to files hidden away via this clever tool.

There’s even more hidden way, accessible via the Finder > XtraFinder menu. Choose “Show Status Bar Icon” to shunt this menu to the menu bar, while Restart Finder and Uninstall XtraFinder are self-explanatory. You’ll also discover the program’s Preferences menu – from here you can disable any of the options you don’t like, plus enable even more cool features, such as clicking any item in the Path Bar to show its contents via a context menu, allowing Cut & Paste or automatically arranging items by name when in icon view.

It all adds up to a tool that should prove its worth to anyone who finds themselves mired in a sea of folders and files on a regular basis. Sure, it’s got some kinks to iron out – you currently have to uninstall it completely to disable it – but considering it’s still at version 0.5, XtraFinder has a lot going for it.

XtraFinder 0.5 is a freeware download for Macs running Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.6) or later.

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