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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Finder Toolbar

You've seen the toolbar by now, and were given a brief introduction to its features in Chapter 2. The toolbar holds useful functions that you might want to access from wherever you are in the Finder. There are two ways to customize the Mac OS X toolbar: by using the supplied buttons (shortcuts) and by adding your own applications and folders.

Predefined Buttons

To customize your Finder windows with any of the predefined Mac OS X buttons (shortcuts), choose Customize Toolbar from the View menu, or hold down Shift and click the toolbar button in the upper-right corner of your Finder window. A display of all the available buttons will appear, as shown in Figure 3.16.

Figure 3.16Figure 3.16 Finder buttons give single-click access to applications, folders, and special features.

To add one of these buttons to the toolbar, simply drag it from the window to wherever you'd like it to appear in the toolbar. If the number of shortcuts in the toolbar exceeds the size of the window, the shortcuts that can't be displayed appear in a pop-up menu at the right side of the toolbar.

  • Back—Return to the previously visited folder. This is part of the default toolbar set.

  • Forward—After using the Back button, use the Forward arrow to move forward to your previous locations. This is part of the default Finder toolbar.

  • Path—Path adds a pop-up menu to the toolbar that contains all the folders in the current path. Choose an item from the menu to jump to that folder. This is virtually identical to holding down the Command key while clicking on the title of a Finder window, but doesn't require a modifier key.

  • View—Quickly toggle between the three available Finder views. This is part of the default Finder toolbar.

  • Eject—Eject drive media (CDs, DVDs, and so on). If you have a modern Apple keyboard, you already have an Eject key, so this added button really won't be necessary. This is the same as pressing Command+E or dragging a disk icon to the Dock's trash can.

  • Burn—Burn the currently active CD—if available. CD burning will be covered later in this chapter.

  • Customize—The Customize shortcut takes you to the shortcut menu.

  • Separator—Serves to separate icons in the Finder's toolbar. Does not have a true function. A separator is included after the View element in the default toolbar.

  • New Folder—Creates a new folder within the current Finder window. This is the same as pressing Shift+Command+N.

  • Delete—Moves the currently selected Window item (or items) to the trash. This command does not empty the trash.

  • Connect—Opens the file server connection window. This is the same as choosing Connect To Server... from the Go menu.

  • Find—Launches Sherlock.

  • Get Info—Get Information about the selected file or folder.

  • Computer—Jumps to the top level of the computer hierarchy. This is a default toolbar element.

  • Home—Jump from the current Finder window to your home directory. This is a default toolbar element.

  • iDisk—If you've set up a .Mac account and given the system your username and password (either during installation or in the Internet System Preferences panel), this shortcut will automatically mount your Apple iDisk.

  • Favorites—Opens the folder containing the items that you've designated as your favorites. The folder contains aliases (shortcuts) to all the items you've added. If you manually add a shortcut to this location, it will appear in your Favorites menu. This is a default toolbar icon.

  • Applications—Jumps to the system application folder. This is a default toolbar icon.

  • Documents—Jumps to the Documents folder in your home directory.

  • Movies—Jumps to the Movies folder in your home directory.

  • Music—Jumps to the Music folder in your home directory.

  • Pictures—Jumps to the Pictures folder in your home directory.

  • Public—Jumps to the Public folder in your home directory.

  • Search—Adds a search field for quick file searches. This is part of the default Finder toolbar.

  • Default Set—Replaces the existing toolbar icons with the default set (Back, View, Separator, Computer, Home, Favorites, Applications).

At the bottom of the toolbar customization panel, you can choose how you want the toolbar displayed using the Show pop-up menu. You can pick Icon Only, Text Only, or Icon & Text if you prefer both. The default selection is Icon & Text.


In applications other than the Finder, you can customize the toolbar with a "small" icon version of the toolbar buttons using the pop-up menu at the bottom of the customize toolbar window. You can toggle through each of the different toolbar states by holding down Command or Shift+Command and clicking the toolbar button in the window's title bar. The Mail and Preview applications both support this feature.

As you are editing your toolbar, you might want to reorder the existing icons or remove them entirely. Just drag the toolbar elements into the order you'd like—they will automatically move to adjust to the new ordering. To remove an element, drag it outside the current toolbar and it will disappear. Click Done when you're satisfied with the results.


The toolbar buttons can be rearranged at any time by holding down the Command key and dragging them. User-defined shortcuts can be moved at any time.

User-Defined Buttons

In addition to the many predefined customizations, the toolbar also supports user-defined buttons (shortcuts). Users can drag common applications, documents, or folders to any place in the toolbar. Like the predefined customizations, the existing toolbar icons will rearrange themselves to accommodate what you are adding.

When folders and applications are added to the toolbar, a single click on the icons will open or launch the respective element. Users can also drag documents onto toolbar application and folder icons to open the file using the application or to move the file into a folder.


Storing your common folders in the toolbar is a great way to make moving files a cinch, especially in the Column view of the Finder. Rather than dragging an icon from folder to folder, just place your most frequently used folder in the toolbar and drag your files directly from the Finder window onto the folder in the toolbar. The Spring-loaded effect even works in toolbar button folders!

Toolbar customization is done on a per-Finder, per-user account basis. When you modify your toolbar, it is modified for all Finder windows in your workspace, not just the currently open folder. These changes also happen on a per-user basis, meaning that the changes you make to your toolbar will not affect other users.

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