Today’s Mac Keystroke of the Week for July

1.5 handed typingI prefer to use the keyboard to do things on the computer, rather than having to move one hand over to the mouse, which interrupts my typing. If you’ve ever been in a conversation with me, this will make sense to you, as I also hate the part where I have to stop talking to breathe, listen, eat, or take a punch to the mouth.

Here’s a really basic set of keystrokes that I should have looked for long ago.

When you are using the Finder to look at/for files on Mac OS X, you can use one of four views. Most people find that 3 of those views are annoying, and only like one. I have, in the five or so years since I got a Mac, spent a total of 24 years and five months switching the Finder window to the view I prefer.

You can switch between views by clicking on the view buttons, or choose a view from the “View” menu, or you can use keystrokes.

  • Cmd+1 gives you the classic icon view, which I have always hated
  • Cmd+2 gives you list view, which is not as useful as it should be
  • Cmd+3 gives you column view, which I find most useful, and is a pain if you have a lot of nested folders
  • Cmd+4 gives you “Cover Flow” view, which is only ever used when Macs are on display for sale, because it is otherwise pointless

There IS an unnecessarily dumb-ass way to tell Finder to use your preferred view as the default, but Finder has its own funny way of defining “default,”  so it is much less of a pain to just use the keystrokes to set the view to what you want each time.

All of these keystrokes are shown right there in the “View” menu when you use Finder, but I’ve been ignoring them for years. Please be better than me.

BONUS KEYSTROKE: In 10.5 or higher, if you have a file highlighted in Finder, and you hit the spacebar, you will get a quick preview of the file–if Preview is able to open the file.  This is a quick way to look into a text document, or preview a music file, or look at an image, without opening a big application.  This is one of those obvious keystrokes that is somehow easy to miss.

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