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Changing the Finder's list view default column widths Desktop

If you often use long file names, you might want to change the Finder list view default column widths (the widths you see when you set the View to "as List" and select "All Windows" in Show View Options). The 10.2 Finder, however, does not allow you to change the default widths -- if you try, the View Options change to "This Window Only" when you close and reopen the window.

You can set the default widths by double-clicking on ~/Library -> Preferences -> com.apple.finder.plist to open it in Property List Editor. Click on the reveal triangles next to Root, then StandardViewOptions, then Nlsv, then Columns. Reveal each column in turn and change the ColumnWidth value to your desired default by double-clicking it and typing.

Close the window, clicking on "Save" when you are asked if you want to save your changes. Then click on the desktop, press Command-Option-Escape, and press Return twice to relaunch the Finder using the new defaults.

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Changing the Finder's list view default column widths | 10 comments | Create New Account
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Changing the Finder's list view default column widths
Authored by: jyncroft on Apr 01, '03 04:02:19PM

How do you get the Nlsv item? All I have in there is clmv...

Thanks, Jennifer



[ Reply to This | # ]
Changing the Finder's list view default column widths
Authored by: tngland on Apr 01, '03 04:23:40PM

You say "to open it in Property List Editor", but when I double-click on it, it is opened into TexEdit. What is this Property List editor?

Thomas S. England
Decatur GA 30030
Portfolio:
http://englandphoto.com/portfolio//

---
Thomas S. England
Decatur GA 30030
Portfolio:
http://englandphoto.com/portfolio//



[ Reply to This | # ]
Changing the Finder's list view default column widths
Authored by: jyncroft on Apr 01, '03 05:03:29PM
Thomas,

You need the developer tools for Property List Editor, but... any text editor (like TextEdit) will allow you to change the file. Just be sure to save them as plain text. However, Property List Editor or some other special purpose program would be much easier.

The plist files are in XML and as such, it may not be intuitively obvious where to find the correct dictionary and the appropriate key:value pair. You can search in TextEdit for Nlsv to find the dictionary.

HTH, Jennifer



[ Reply to This | # ]
Developer tools and Nlsv items
Authored by: noworryz on Apr 01, '03 07:44:12PM

The developer tools, which come with OS X, contain Property List Editor, as Jennifer's comment has mentioned.

I wouldn't recomment trying to edit a property list as complicated as the Finder's with a text editor -- you are likely to cause puzzling problems if you mess up the syntax. Be sure to make a backup first!

If you do not have a Nlsv item, quit Property List Editor, go to the Finder and open a directory window, change View to "as List," select "Select View Options," click on "All windows," change one of the items shown, and close the View Options window. This will write to the Finder's com.apple.finder.plist file within a few seconds.

--Glenn

[ Reply to This | # ]

Developer tools and Nlsv items
Authored by: tngland on Apr 01, '03 11:57:31PM

OK, I installed the Property List Editor & all this worked fine, very nice.

BUT, is there a similar fix for my pet peeve: The narrow view of filenames in the open/save dialogs?

---
Thomas S. England
Decatur GA 30030
Portfolio:
http://englandphoto.com/portfolio//



[ Reply to This | # ]
Changing the Finder's list view default column widths
Authored by: Tom Robinson on Apr 02, '03 02:30:07PM

Great hint but I don't like force quitting the Finder because it can cause recent changes to folder view options, the recent folders list, and sometimes new file comments to be lost.

I use this short AppleScript instead:

tell application "Finder" to quit
delay 4
tell application "Finder" to activate



[ Reply to This | # ]
Forcing Finder to write its changes
Authored by: noworryz on Apr 02, '03 06:52:40PM

Actually, if you are going to tell the Finder to quit, you should do it before, not after, editing its com.apple.finder.plist file. You don't want the Finder to over-write the changes you are making.

You can also force it to write out its changes by simply ejecting your disks (including the startup disk; the Finder writes out the changes then give the error dialog). Alternatively, you can use the Applescript above or type in the Terminal:


/usr/bin/osascript -e 'quit application "Finder"'
/usr/bin/open -a "Finder"

In any case, always force quit immediately after manually editing the plist file!

--Glenn

[ Reply to This | # ]

Changing the Finder's list view default column widths
Authored by: cyomega on Jun 29, '04 09:59:23AM

Is therre any way to set the Finder to display ALL windows in List view? I hate having to switch to list view any time I navigate to a folder I haven't used before, or when I create a new folder.

I've checked in com.apple.finder.plist, but to no avail... it seems that if you set the ComputerViewStyle property (in ComputerOptions) to "Nlsv" it should do this -- but no dice. I've also tried creating a prop named "AlwaysOpenWindowsInListView" (in reference to the "AlwaysOpenWindowsInColumnView" prop), but that doesn't work either.

If there is no way, can we pester Apple to get them to implement a global (well, global per user) setting to do this? Perhaps in Finder preferences, or in a preference panel... or something...



[ Reply to This | # ]
Changing the Finder's list view default column widths
Authored by: robrippin on Feb 15, '06 03:51:47PM

I second this request. I work in a Windows server environment and now use Blue Harvest to stop my mac from tossing .DS_Store files everywhere on the Windows boxes. All I'm doing is browsing their folders and change the icon view to list view then BAM, I have a ton of .DS_Store files everywhere.

I've too looked all over the com.apple.finder.plist to see if I can change the default "new folder" view from icon to list but apparently Apple thinks it's only necessary to have icon as the default and in "Finder - Preferences" have an option to only allow "Open new windows in column view" Great, Apple! Now where is the "Open new windows in list view" option?!

There's gotta be a way of hacking the Finder.app and forcing it to set this as default.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Still works under Snow Leopard with minor changes
Authored by: azeotropo on May 01, '12 07:50:54AM
Very nice hint, I'm bringing this back so many years later just to point out that it still works under Snow Leopard, but the structure of the
com.apple.finder.plist
file has changed a bit. In Snow Leopard the settings to change are under
StandardViewSettings / ListViewSettings / columns
once you click the triangle next to
columns
you will reveal all the possible columns Finder can display (comments, dateCreated, name, size...) and you can click on the triangle of the attribute you want and change its
width
value.

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