If there’s one utility on the Mac that most of us should know well, it’s the Finder. In over 25 years the Mac’s Finder has grown familiar. And familiarity breeds contempt. Despite a steady flow of new features, many Mac users loathe the Finder’s growing list of shortcomings. Will Mac OS X Snow Leopard ease their pain? Or, should discriminating Mac users find a Finder alternative? Yes. And yes.
The Mac’s Finder is where we go to find files, store files, copy files, archive files, even open applications and utilities. It may be the single most used non-email, non-browser utility for Mac users.
How many ways can you view files on your Mac? The Finder does them all. Column view. List view. Icon view. Cover Flow view (wonderful for lovers of eye candy). The Finder’s toolbar can be customized. The Sidebar can be customized.
What’s not to like? We live in an age of tabs and the Finder doesn’t have any. Multiple views? Nope. Reorder files? Not so easy. Some functions—like making disk images—should be built in but are not.
What to do?
Add power to your Mac’s Finder by eliminating it altogether. That’s right. Ditch your Finder.
CocoaTech’s Path Finder is everything you wanted your Mac’s Finder to be, but without the smug attitude of superiority. Quietly, competently, Path Finder is already ready for OS X Snow Leopard.
Path Finder is totally familiar. After all, it’s a Finder, true, but it’s a Finder with the features Mac users have been clamoring for through the years. Features?
Did I mention tabs? Safari has tabs. Why not the Finder? Path Finder has tabs. In the Mac’s Finder you have to open multiple Finder windows to perform some functions. Not so with Path Finder. Open tabs instead.
Dual Pane Browser
Have you ever wanted to view the contents of two folders side-by-side? Try that in the Finder. It’s multiple Windows or no go, Joe. Path Finder has a dual window pane browser capability built in.
To sort through files in the Mac’s Finder you need to use List View. Even then you’re stuck with the same ascending or descending sort, files or folders. Path Finder lets you determine how to sort and segregates folders and files.
Same Old New
Path Finder does those little tricks that Finder does, including Quick Look, so you can see what’s inside files. If you like the Finder’s Sidebar, you’ll love the Shelf in Path Finder. Move it where you want it. Customize the Toolbar with double the Finder features.
For the really power power user, Path Finder does a bunch of what Finder does not. For example, there’s a terminal window built right into Path Finder, with a handy GUI to Unix utilities. There’s a plugin for Subversion (if you don’t know what it is then you’re not geeky). Create disk images in Path Finder. Use it as a Launcher.
Did I mention keyboard shortcuts? That’s the hallmark of a Mac power user. Path Finder is loaded with them. Drag and drop? Sure. Drag and drop and freeze? Sure. Path Finder lets you use a temporary shelf to freeze drag and drops.
If you grumble about the Finder’s shortcomings, and there are a few, and you feel a need to become more powerful than mere mortal man (or woman), Path Finder provides a 64-bit way to make your Mac do more of your bidding.
Problems in Paradise?
A few, but not many. Path Finder, as with any application or utility that goes beyond the levels afforded us by Apple’s own software, gets complex. Quickly. The options can become overwhelming. There’s a disparity between what you think you know about the Finder (familiarity) and all the kitchen gadgets, utensils, pots, pans, and appliances thrown into Path Finder.
Worthy? Yes. Affordable? Yes. Useful? Yes. Fun? Usually. Complex? It can be. Try it. Stick with the basics like Tabs and Dual Window Panes before venturing into the more esoteric areas like command line tools in the terminal.