Better Mac File Management With TotalFinder

TotalFinder dual-mode

Much as I like Mac OS X, I’ve never been happy with the native Finder. Working in DOS and Windows got me used to working with files in a certain way. Even after several years of being a Mac user, some simple things about the Finder still annoy me, like OS X’s habit of interspersing folders with files in an alphabetical list, rather than having the folders come first.

But for some reason, I’ve never liked the best-known Finder replacement, Path Finder. I confess that I haven’t tried it for a while, but it just didn’t work well for me. So while reading the comments to Scott’s latest article on moving to the Mac, I was interested to see that there’s now another replacement for Finder, called TotalFinder. I’ve been trying it out, and so far, I like what I’ve found.

I often have more than one Finder window open; TotalFinder allows me to display these windows in tabs. These can be moved around just as in a browser, and you can go into “dual mode” by double-clicking any tab. Dual mode creates two windows side-by-side; very handy for dragging and dropping files between folders.

The Finder windows in the tabs are essentially unchanged. You can customize the columns displayed and the sort order, just like you can in Finder. One nice thing about TotalFinder: you can set the sort order individually for each window.

TotalFinder can be set to display folders at the top of alphabetical lists, and can display system files with a keyboard shortcut, without needing to restart the Finder.

If you’re in an environment that includes both Macs and Windows machines, TotalFinder also includes a function to manage OS X system files like .DS_Store. Other settings can be tweaked from the menu bar. The developer is also working on other features that haven’t yet been implemented, like copy and paste.

TotalFinder requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The software is available for $15, or you can buy three licenses for $30. Office licensing, and a 14-day trial, are also available.

Do you use a Finder replacement? If so, which one?

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