How the Mac OS X Finder could be improved

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by chameeeleon, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. chameeeleon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #1
    Alright, in the "Tiger - What's hot, what's not" thread, there came a discussion about the lack of improvement in the Finder, and some others did not seem to understand what makes the current version so undesirable. This thread is for answering that question, and suggesting improvements. Let it ALL out.

    EDIT: Title changed. As I said, it doesn't "suck" it just doesn't seem ideal.
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    You started the thread. So, tell me, why does it suck :confused:
     
  3. iindigo macrumors 6502a

    iindigo

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    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #3
    Bingo. What's so wrong with it? It's always worked fine for me.
     
  4. Daveway macrumors 68040

    Daveway

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    New Orleans / Lafayette, La
    #4
    Same here. I don't understand what is so bad about it. I think it's fine. I would only request more stability with it.
     
  5. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

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    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    Montana
    #5
    That's obvious. It doesn't do the dishes while it searches for files. I don't even think it can compose original music, can it? On top of that, you have to use your mouse or keyboard to get it to do *anything*.
     
  6. chameeeleon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2004
    #6
    From an average joe:

    1. Tabs. And let them be dragged around (unlike the Safari tabs), and switch to a tab when a file is held over top of it. And let tabs be dragged out to create their own Finder windows.
    2. The option to show a Path bar above a window's contents of the folders leading up to the folder you're at now. I know there's a button, but it just isn't as nice as a bar. Oh, and this way you could drag files to folders in the path bar without actually going to them. This would be especially handy when searching, to see where a file is located. The Finder has a VERY weak implementation of this currently, shown at the bottom in search results. Weak because it is basically just icons of folders.
    3. The ability to use 3-column view to go to folders before whatever folder you're in right now (for example, if I switch to 3 column view in Movies, I can't go up a folder to my Home folder, etc.)
    4. In list view, right-clicking on list headings should show all the column options, like in iTunes.
    5. In list view, one should be able to simply click under the column field to enter comments, rather than having to go into a get info window.
    6. In fact, the get info window should be merged with the terrific item info column that shows up when you select an item in 3 column view. Have a basic info drawer or something of the like to show all the basic info on a file that can't be seen in icon view especially, without having to Get Info. Maybe not a drawer actually - they're kind of clunky. Maybe have like a designated info section of the Finder.
    7. Speaking of which, the info that IS given (for example, displaying available space on harddrives) does not update like... ever, and thus is horribly unreliable
    8. Allow folders to be "hidden" so that they don't show up until the user chooses to show hidden folders. That way things like my printer Data or Microsoft User Data folders (which i have never in my life opened) wouldn't crowd up my Documents folder.
    9. Holding down on the back button should bring up a drop down menu of where I've been last.
    10. Let files be "locked" so that they can't be moved, renamed, etc. and have a little lock icon at the bottom of their icon preview (or are greyed out in list/3 column view). This way I know at visual glance not to move my Final Cut capture files when cleaning up a folder. Also cool would be to password protect any file with this lock.
    11. In fact, it would be amazing if when you moved a file, the Finder kept track of it's original and new location, and when an app looked for something in that old location, it was automatically re-directed to the new location (altho I suppose Spotlight could make this easier).
    12. Open and Save dialogues - let files be dragged to/from the Finder sidebar. Let files be renamed.
    13. Labels - why don't they show up in the sidebar?
    14. Add like an instant slideshow option to the action bar when a group of photos is selected. Ala the one shown from Mail in Tiger.
    I know I've been bothered with other things, but that's my annoyance/request list for now.
     
  7. JeDiBoYTJ macrumors 6502a

    JeDiBoYTJ

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    Jun 22, 2004
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    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    #7
    The Finder sucks because I can't find the Start menu
     
  8. shortyman macrumors member

    shortyman

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    Mar 26, 2005
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    Somerset, UK
    #8
    LOL, thats got to be one of the posts of the day! :D
     
  9. chameeeleon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2004
    #9
    An interesting article from ArsTechnica written during Jaguar but frequently referenced during their Panther review about how they feel the Finder should be changed.
    And thinking it over, "sucks" is too strong a word - I do like the Finder. A lot. I just get frustrated with the way it changes so much, in position, in appearance, in views, and the way it seems I have to have multiple Finder windows/Get Info windows open when browsing to really see everything I need/want to.
    That said, there are numerous things I love about the Finder - the sidebar especially.
     
  10. live4ever macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, ON
    #10
    One thing that really bugs me is in column view when you click on a video/audio file I always get an annoying noise from the HDD (even if preview is off) and everything slows down in the Finder.

    Please tell me this is fixed in Tiger, it is the one major gripe I have with the Finder.
     
  11. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham
    #11
    My biggest want is a button on the toolbar for 'move up a level' like there is in Windows Explorer.

    (Yes, I know you can do this with cmd-up, but I want a toolbar button to do it, ok? :p)

    The Finder should also change its view depending on the content of the folder. For example, I have several folders full of images - not photos, they're in iPhoto - but web graphics and and the like. The only file type is jpeg. The Finder should recognise this and change to my preset display choice for image folders. The 56x56 icon size I have for other stuff just doesn't cut it for images, and I have to manually up it to 128x128 for every single image folder on my Mac. On this front, Windows Explorer runs rings round the Finder - it dynamically changes depending on the content, offering relevant options to the user. I wish the Finder could adopt some of these things.
     
  12. maxterpiece macrumors 6502a

    maxterpiece

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    #12
    you can just hit the left arrow key to move back, or you can use the left/right scroller on the bottom of the window to see what's in the past.
    seems like a waste of space, but i agree the get info thing is played.
    if you put a period (".") in front of the file name it becomes invisible. I know that isn't exactly integrated into finder and also you can't change the names of some files/folders because a certain app might be looking for them under that name, but it is still useful.
    would be nice, but the fact that OS X consolidates most files for an app into one big file (unlike OS 9), makes this somewhat less necessary.
    you can drag stuff into open dialogs... i don't know about save. I still think that the concept of having a clunky dialog box pop up to save and open things is dumb -- why not just turn the open/save dialog boxes into a full featured finder window...
    This would be taking a page out of the windows playbook. Apple wants you to manage your photos in iphoto, not in finder. Let finder serve it's purpose. No need to make it more cluttered.
     
  13. chameeeleon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2004
    #13
    Ok, I've discovered something. The 3 column view only takes you as far back as where you started browsing. So if you click on "Movies" from the sidebar, and then hit 3 column view you CAN'T scroll or use the left arrow key. It will only go back as far as movies. But if you start at your home folder and click movies, you can go back to your home folder, but not to the Users folder. It seems very strange, and obviously it would be better for them to simply allow you to browse all the way back.
     
  14. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #14
    Those little folder icons at the top of each window aren't there just for show... apple-click on them and you get your path.
     
  15. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

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    Birmingham
    #15
    That involves three clicks though. It's a complex solution to a simple problem. A simple 'up a level' button is so useful so often that I'm amazed it doesn't exist in the Finder. They obviously think it's a useful function given that it has a keystroke assigned to it.
     
  16. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

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    Birmingham
    #16
    100% disagree. iPhoto is a separate purchase now, and is no longer considered part the OS like it was with Panther. Apple have tacitly acknowledged this with the slideshows that you can get in Mail and the like, and you can also access these slideshows in Tiger via the Spotlight menu. If they're going to ship Tiger without any version of iLife included - as IMHO they will - the OS itself will have to become better at basic image management.

    If not, OS X is suddenly becoming a $208 purchase to get the functionality most users will expect, not a $129 one. And that's a bad step I'm sure most of us would agree.
     
  17. chameeeleon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2004
    #17
    *Cough* A Path bar at the top of the window would offer the best of both *Cough*
     
  18. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

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    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    Montana
    #18
    Well, you can customize the finder toolbar and put the "Path" item there. This will give you a drop down list of the path from where you are currently all the way back up to the root of the file system. It that what you want?

    Edit: I guess you already thought of this.
     
  19. chameeeleon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2004
    #19
    The path bar is great for browsing, but not for moving files. The 3 column view is great at neither, but decent at both.
    Basically, if I want to move a file from a folder to one folder up, I have to have two windows open - one with the folder the file's in, and one with the folder I want to move it to. The path button is no use here because to click it I have to let go of my file, and thus can't drag my file up one level using it. If I'm in 3 column view, I can just go one column over, USUALLY (this is why the unreliable 'you can only go back as far as you started' approach gets so annoying). A constant path bar would be great because I could just drag the file up to the folder on the bar.
     
  20. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #20
    That's what spring-loaded folders are for. :confused:
     
  21. chameeeleon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2004
    #21
    How do you go one folder up using spring-loaded folders, which go down? You'd need like reverse spring-loaded folders.
     
  22. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #22
    Start in your home folder or work folder from the sidebar. Works OK for me.
     
  23. chameeeleon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2004
    #23
    Ok, I understand what you mean. It's actually a good solution provided the folder you are looking for isn't too deep. Spring-loading through 15 folders (in my opinion) is a waste of time compared to the one drag path bar.
     
  24. chameeeleon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2004
    #24
    Another annoyance:
    I open a Finder window, go to my Movies folder and press the zoom widget. It resizes to fit the contents. I close the window. Then I open a new window again, and the Finder acts as though I'd never resized it.
     
  25. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #25
    They should add a path bar to Finder, like the one in iTunes (hope you know what I'm talking about).
     

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