Master the Finder sidebar
1 Understand the basics
Firstly, the sidebar can be hidden. App install windows often hide the sidebar, for example. View > Hide/Show sidebar ( å+ç+S) toggles its visibility. Also, select a sidebar item and it loads relevant items into the window. So click Applications to see your apps.
2 Show predefined items
Go to Finder > Preferences and choose Sidebar. You’ll see items grouped into Favorites, Shared, Devices and Tags. Checking an item adds it to Finder sidebars; deselect an item and it will be removed. (Most items can be managed manually, though that’s a slower process.)
3 Add and remove items
If you want quick access to a folder not shown in Finder’s preferences, select it and use File > Add to Sidebar (≈+ ç+T), or just drag the folder into Favorites. To remove any item’s shortcut, drag it outside the Finder sidebar or
≈- click it and select ‘Remove from Sidebar’.
4 Access a hidden folder
Your user Library folder is hidden by default, but can be added to Finder’s sidebar. Hold å and go to Go > Library. Ensure the Finder path bar is visible (View > Show Path Bar) and drag Library to the Favorites section of the sidebar. The folder is then just a click away.
5 Manage the sidebar
Add too many items and the sidebar becomes cluttered and requires scrolling, so prioritise. Delete unused items and click-drag to move key ones up. Categories can be dragged via their titles, or collapsed by clicking the Hide button (shown when the cursor’s over the title).
6 Save a search
In any Finder window, press ç+F to load the search view – results can be restricted to a folder or your entire Mac. Define results criteria and click Save. In the sheet that appears, check Add To Sidebar and click Save. Your dynamic smart search appears in the sidebar.
7 Use All My Files
All My Files is a smart search that groups your files, initially by type and in reverse chronological order. The folder’s view and item arrangement can be adjusted via the toolbar and it will remember changes when reopened. The same goes for other folders in the sidebar.
8 Make everything bigger
Sidebar items can be resized. In System Preferences, click General and set ‘Sidebar icon size’ to Large (this may affect other apps.) Thirdparty utility XtraFinder (trankynam.com/ xtrafinder) adds sidebar colour, via Appearance > Show colourful icons in the sidebar.