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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X Desktop
One common gripe for the Mac old-timers is the switch from the 'Spatial Finder' of OS 9 to the 'Browser-style Finder' of OS X (pioneered in Windows 95). You can relive the old days now in Snow Leopard with this tip.

As a bit of background: OS 9 treated displayed each folder's contents only once on screen, and always in its own window, and always in the same place on-screen. This was done to mimic the real life desktop and folder paradigm. OS X follows a more web-like paradigm, where each Finder window can be used to view any folder's contents, and a single folder can be viewed simultaneously in multiple windows.

However, you can relive the old days of OS 9's spatial Finder by turning off the sidebar and toolbar. To do this, click the capsule-shaped button in the upper right of a Finder window. Once the sidebar is gone, opening folders will act like they did in OS 9: opening into their own windows.

Note, it's actually possible to have both OS 9-style folder windows and OS X-style browser windows open at the same time.

[robg adds: This behavior isn't new in Snow Leopard; it works the same way in 10.5. Also, if you use column-view mode, this hint doesn't work; it only applies to opening folders when using icon or list view modes.]
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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X | 28 comments | Create New Account
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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: wallybear on Jan 21, '10 08:34:13AM

Cannot understand where's the hint.

This behaviour isn't new; it was the same in 10.5, 10.4 and 10.3 (not in 10.2 and earlier OS X Finders).



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: robogobo on Jan 22, '10 08:29:17AM

well, it's still a hint even if it's been around for a while. What's the problem?



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: wallybear on Jan 28, '10 02:36:25AM

IMHO the translucent button on the upper right of any Finder window is evident. We are not talking of some obscure/hidden key combination or easter egg.



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: everkleer80 on Jan 28, '10 08:24:51AM

No one said it wasn't evident... Who said hints have to be hidden? My favorite hints are the obvious things that I never thought of doing before.

Anyway, the real hint here is that not only are the toolbar/sidebar disabled, but that you will then actually be opening folders as opposed to using a file browser. I never realized that...



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Pioneered in Windows 95?
Authored by: gerti on Jan 21, '10 09:08:43AM

"the 'Browser-style Finder' of OS X (pioneered in Windows 95)"???

NeXTSTEP (OS X predecessor) had the 'Browser-style Finder' since 1988 or so. And I doubt that was the first.



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Pioneered in Windows 95?
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 22, '10 04:08:24PM

Ever heard of Midnight Commander? Norton Commander? Directory Opus? Fits the browsing paradigm.



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Pioneered in Windows 95?
Authored by: drtofu on Jan 23, '10 12:43:34PM

Good points. Perhaps "Popularized in Windows 95" is more accurate, then.



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: llee on Jan 21, '10 09:14:36AM

Windows acting as tools instead of representations of file system objects has been the single most difficult change for me to embrace in making the transition from the Classic OS to OS X. I would prefer that this particular setting be offered independently of utility add-ons such as toolbar and sidebar. I would welcome the implementation of a preference item for this functionality similar in scope to the "Always open folders in a new window" checkbox that exists now. But I think it would be a tall order to engineer the system so that choice could be made available.



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: raider on Jan 21, '10 08:01:40PM

This comment surprised me a little, that someone in 2010 was still talking about difficulty with the transition to OSX. I mean OSX has been around just shy of 10 years and through 6 major versions... I had figured everyone had done been transitioned already!

:)



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: stokessd on Jan 22, '10 05:38:12AM

I'm fully OsX'ified, but I do still morn the loss of ClarisCAD, man that was a great program. Nothing out there is as good, some things come close, but they all are missing something.

Sheldon



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: robogobo on Jan 22, '10 08:30:42AM

and don't forget Sherlock.



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 22, '10 04:20:44PM

Every platform transition has meant some major loss of functionality and productivity that I've never managed to regain, despite the swathe of new features.

Leper brought back springloaded window tabs as ... oh I don't know what they call them now. Remember in OS9 you could drag a window to the bottom of the screen, it would change to just the name in a tab. You could pop them open, then if you felt like it, tear it off the screen bottom and make it back into a regular window.

The Leper way of doing things is so clunky, and loses half the functionality. Oh, they look pretty, but they're no match for what I lost.

There are a whole host of "new and improved" features that simply don't match the old for efficiency. Back up your System folder? Good luck with that.



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: steresi on Jan 21, '10 11:43:40AM

I switch the toolbar off for all the folders I use often, but what I would like to know is how can I get new folders to appear with the toolbar and sidebar off by default!



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: herbs on Jan 21, '10 12:09:49PM

Howdy,

What about Finder->Preferences->General and check off ``Always open folders in a new window''?

Good Luck,
Herb Schulz

---
Good Luck,
Herb Schulz



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: macgruder on Jan 21, '10 10:10:25PM

That's not the same. This hint means that any window is only viewable once. In other words, if you navigate through another window that takes you to an open Window then you won't get two views of the same window. The previous window will come to the front instead.



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: macgruder on Jan 21, '10 10:15:03PM
I for one appreciate this hint. Nothing in today's finder was as efficient as the old open the windows you are using today, drag em to the bottom as tabs, knowing that's where they'd uniquely remain. Use this hint in combination with PathFinder, and you've got the best of both worlds.

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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: leamanc on Jan 22, '10 08:04:37AM

I'm a long-time Mac user, actually using Apple products before the first Mac, but I for one am glad that the spatial Finder is dead. I found it annoying even back in the olden days to have multiple windows open all the time. Yes, I get that it is true to the "desktop and files in folders" metaphor, but really that was only endearing when the Mac first came out. As we all grew as computer users and wanted to harness the power of the GUI, it became not so cute to have to deal with dozens of open windows...that often opened right on top of each other. Option-click to close all windows was the best shortcut ever!

As far as the hint's claim of Windows 95 bringing a browser viewer, I think that is wrong on several fronts. The Apple LISA used a browser-style file manager way back in 1983. That was probably cobbed from what Steve Jobs saw at Xerox Palo Alto in 1979. NeXTStep gets a lot of credit for introducing this type of file browser in 1988, and that's OK because it was probably the first well-known implementation. But, I don't think Windows even had it in 95; I do believe it wasn't until 98 that they adopted this paradigm.



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: DamnItsHot on Jan 22, '10 12:44:10PM

Perhaps not everyone remembers or even used the original System/Finder (1.1g or earlier) that did not respect folders as directories. Before there was HFS (or HFS+) there was MFS. It was a flat file System - oh yeah we had folders but it was only to kinda organize stuff. If you fit a bunch of files on one of your 400K floppies it was nice to have the folders to hide some of that stuff, but it was all in the same directory i.e., when you went to open a file (e.g., from inside MacWrite) you saw it all. No Folders. Talk about a break in the metaphor!

There have been compromises all along (who keeps their trash can on their desk?) just choose the one that fits you the best and go for it!

Edited on Jan 22, '10 12:45:44PM by DamnItsHot



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: robogobo on Jan 22, '10 08:36:10AM

"
[robg adds: This behavior isn't new in Snow Leopard; it works the same way in 10.5. Also, if you use column-view mode, this hint doesn't work; it only applies to opening folders when using icon or list view modes.]"

That damn dirty column view!

This is really a great hint, even if you already knew about it. It's good to be reminded of these things as the OS gets bigger and bigger. I think the real strength of the Finder is in its flexibility. I never liked column view, but I do see how it helps some people think their way through their files. Sometimes a spatial Finder is better, sometimes not.



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Avoid using a spatial Finder after opening a disk image
Authored by: everkleer80 on Jan 22, '10 10:38:49AM

I for one prefer to have the toolbar/sidebar and use list view (I suppose it's a matter of preference) and I have set it up such that every new window opens the way I want. Most disk images that I download, however, open in their own view (usually icon view with a shortcut to my applications folder and no toolbar/sidebar) and if I press the hotkey to go to my home folder while that window has focus or doubleclick the applications shortcut or something, then the new location will be shown in Icon view without a toolbar or sidebar. This is obviously just a minor inconvenience, as I can just close the window and/or switch to another window and then hit the hotkey/navigate to my destination, but does anyone know of a way I can avoid this? Or do I just have to try to remember to close the image window before navigating anywhere else?



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Avoid using a spatial Finder after opening a disk image
Authored by: Mac Berry on Jan 22, '10 06:04:34PM

Oh yes, agreed 100%. Anyone know a workaround?



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Avoid using a spatial Finder after opening a disk image
Authored by: tedw on Jan 22, '10 07:33:02PM

command-option-t will open (and close) the toolbar, which is marginally easier.



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Avoid using a spatial Finder after opening a disk image
Authored by: Michael.Massing on Jan 24, '10 12:30:19AM

I follow that opt-cmd-t with a cmd-2 for list view and then have two workable options (product window apps alias or sidebar apps alias) for filing the app. Still a workaround, but executed fairly quickly and painlessly from the keyboard.

Incidentally, cmd-1, 3, and 4 change the finder window in focus to icon, column, and coverflow views.

---
Don't take life so serious, son . . . it ain't no how permanent.
- Porky Pine to Albert the Alligator (Pogo by Walt Kelly)



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Avoid using a spatial Finder after opening a disk image
Authored by: everkleer80 on Jan 24, '10 08:46:37PM

Thanks. I knew about and used the cmd-opt-t, I don't know why I never looked up the shortcut for the view type.



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: TvE on Jan 23, '10 02:44:55AM

Despite the existence of different other file managers (DiskOrder, muCommander etc.) I still REALLY MISS to find a product as close to TotalCommander as possible, since it is so well created and customizable etc.

I even think/try/want to run it in Parallels or such - despite the large overhead - to get the functionality.

- Unfortunately this will not let me open files in the Mac native application while pressing ENTER, so the parallels way will most likely never work anyway.


Any suggestions for better solutions are much appreciated.
MuCommander is probably the closest. Disk Order would be the winner in case it added TAB support (I have written the author but never received as much as an aknowledgement of him receivíng the mail much less a "Good idea - or Never"…


Just revisited Disk Order: It crashes everytime I "Connect to Server"

Edited on Jan 23, '10 02:52:26AM by TvE



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: eugene_o on Jan 23, '10 04:19:34PM

If you are not afraid of the terminal - try Midnight Commander



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: TvE on Jan 24, '10 02:46:40AM

I do a lot of other work in the shell allready, so maybe THAT will be a path to - at least - check it out!
Since it's also X-platform (I strongly presume) I'll be able to use the same tool on Windows as well (IF I find it better that TotalCommander ;-)

Thanx for the tip, I'll read more about it right away!



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How to use a spatial Finder in OS X
Authored by: sipatel on Feb 07, '10 08:16:52PM

In OS9 if you opened your HD, option-clicked on a folder, the open HD window would close and a new properly-sized window of that folder would open.

OSX changed that behaviour in 10.5 or 10.6, in that it simply replaces the contents of the open window of the new folder but does properly resize the window.

Now that is an absolute PITA because when I’m digging deep into folder structures, I don’t want multiple windows open but I also want each new window to be properly resized to show all the contents. I have even set up the scroll-wheel button on my MS Intellimouse to perform this action, but having to manually expand/contract window sizes is tedious.



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