Archived Mac & OS X Software Uncategorized

TotalFinder for OS X – Review

Today’s article is something I haven’t done for a while – a review.

If you’re someone that follows the not-often-enough-updated content on Digital Formula, you’ll know that I’ve written reviews in the past but haven’t done that many since making the switch from PC to Mac almost 18 months ago … wow has it been that long?

Anyway, the software in question today is called TotalFinder and is one of the excellent packages put together by Antonin Hildebrand of binaryage.

TotalFinder is a plugin for Finder in OS X that adds some functionality to Finder that I think perhaps should be there in the first place.

What does TotalFinder look like?

Once installed, the default settings are immediately visible when you open a Finder window. If you open a Finder window, the first thing you’ll notice is the addition of tabbed browsing. Yes! Why do I like this so much? Quite simply it’s because tabbed browsing is something that couldn’t come soon enough in the web browser world and it absolutely makes sense here, too.

TotalFinder - Default
TotalFinder – Default Settings

The same keyboard shortcuts apply as before but with a couple of additions:

  • Command+W closes the current tab (or window if there’s only one tab in it)
  • Command+T adds a new tab to the current Finder window
  • Command+N opens a new Finder window
  • Command+U toggles dual mode on or off
  • Shift+Command+; toggles ‘Folders On Top’ on and off
  • Shift+Command+. toggles ‘Show System Files’ on and off
  • Shift+Command+P toggles Visor pinning on and off (see below)

Dual Mode

This is another of TotalFinder’s additions that is critical to its success. Pressing Command-U toggles Dual Mode and gives you a view not too dissimilar to most FTP client applications. If you do a lot of file management that involves copying or moving files between two locations, dual mode will save you a ton of time and save you from wasting time arranging multiple Finder windows.

TotalFinder - Dual Mode
TotalFinder – Dual Mode

One thing I’ve noticed is that when you switch dual mode off, there are two tabs left open even if you only had a single tab open before switching dual mode on. I’m assuming this is by design.

Quickly show or hide system files

As a bit of a geek, this is something that I really like. Pressing Shift+Command+. (period/full-stop) will quickly switch between system files being shown or hidden, an invaluable shortcut if you’re working on system files quite often. No need for a screenshot of that, right? 😉

I want Finder like Windows!

Really? Well, TotalFinder can deal with that, too. Pressing Shift+Command+; (semi-colon) will toggle between folders being shown above all files or the default which is to order the Finder contents by name, regardless of whether its a file or folder.

TotalFinder - Like Windows
TotalFinder – Like Windows

The Visor

This is something that I haven’t seen in a Finder plugin before. The Visor is a feature that can be enabled by opening the Finder preferences window, selecting the TotalFinder section and switching on ‘The Visor Feature’. Once on, you can press the default keyboard shortcut (Option+`) to quickly show a screen-width Finder window. It can also be pinned in place so that the Visor doesn’t lose focus when hidden.

If you don’t like the screen-width Finder window you can also use what’s called ‘FreeForm Window’ to set your own configuration for the Visor window.

Do I want TotalFinder?

If you’re reading this website it’s probably a fair bet that that you’d get some decent use out of TotalFinder. Most people that come here are either I.T. types like me or keyboard junkies (also like me). I don’t use the mouse unless I really have to and reckon TotalFinder contributes to my shiny Microsoft mouse gathering dust – for me that’s a good thing.

Now, to be clear, TotalFinder isn’t free. It costs $15 for a single license or the equivalent of $10 per license if you buy the three license pack for use on three computers. It’s worth mentioning that Antonin, the developer of TotalFinder, does offer an interesting licensing concept where you can get a free license if you meet certain criteria.

Go on, try it. You know you want to!

P.S. Yes, I’m running the trial version of TotalFinder and there is a TimeMachine Backup running as I write this! 😉