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ATPM 4.05
May 1998


How To


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The Personal Computing Paradigm

by Michael Tsai,

More Keyboard Shortcuts

Since most people spend a lot of time in the Finder, I thought I would share a few tips for using it more efficiently. In addition to the command keys listed in the menus, there are many other keyboard shortcuts you can use.

Selecting Files
In icon view, the arrow keys let you select an icon above, below, or to the side of the currently selected icon. When nothing is selected, Up and Down Arrow select the first and last items (alphabetically). Typing the first few letters of a file name selects that file. Regardless of what view you're in, Tab selects the next file alphabetically. Shift-Tab cycles through the names backwards.

Command-Up Arrow and Command-Down Arrow
As in open/save dialogs (discussed in
ATPM 4.03), these commands let you navigate the folder hierarchy. When a folder's window is open, you can move up to the enclosing folder with Command-Up Arrow. If a folde's or disk's icon is selected, Command-Down Arrow moves you down the folder hierarchy. If an application or document is selected, it is opened. This is equivalent to Command-O (Open), but is often more convenient if you are browsing a disk because "Down Arrow" is closer to the other arrow keys than "O" is.

If you hold down Option in addition to the above keys, the enclosing folder closes when the parent or child folder (depending on whether you pressed Up Arrow or Down Arrow) opens. This lets you "tunnel" through the folder hierarchy without cluttering the screen with windows. Using this technique, combined with typing the first few letters of a file's name, you can browse your hard disk much faster than with Apple's Spring-Loaded Folders (spiffy as they are).

Command-Clicking on the title bar of awindow reveals a menu that lets younavigate up the folder hierarchy. If youhold down Command and Option, the currentwindow closes behind you.

Command-DragHolding down Command while dragging a file temporarily reverses the Snap To Gridsetting in View Options (Mac OS 8) or theViews control panel (System 7).

Holding down Command while dragging a window lets you move that window without bringing it to the front. This also works in applications other than the Finder.

Option-Clicking on another application's window switches to the other application (as usual) and hides the current application.

Collapse BoxOption-Clicking the collapse box collapses (or expands) all of thecurrent application's windows.

Normally when you drag a file in the Finder, Mac OS decides whether to make a copy or move the file. If you drag it to another location on the same disk, the Finder just moves it. If you drag it to a different disk, it makes a copy. Holding down Option forces the Finder to make a copy even if you drag the file to another location on the same disk.

This puts the computer to sleep. (The Power key, usually at the top right of the keyboard, is marked with a left-pointing triangle.) This shortcut works in any program, not just in the Finder.

Command-Option Drag
Under Mac OS 8, this makes an alias in the new location. "
alias" is only appended to the filename if necessary.

Under Mac OS 8, this key combination sends the selected files to the trash can. The shareware control panel Hidden Finder Features
<Click Here> lets you use Command-Delete in the System 7 Finder.

Disclosure TrianglesCommand-Left/Right Arrow
With the name of a folder selected in the Finder'slist view, Command-Right Arrow is equivalent toclicking on the disclosure triangle to open thefolder. Holding down Option, too, expands theentire hierarchy. Command-Left Arrow collapsesthe folder listing. Holding down Option collapsesall the contained folders.

Option and MenusSome of the Finder's menu commands do slightlydifferent things if you have Option held down.

Ok, I admit there's nothing secret about Command-Y. It simply issues the Put Away command from the File menu. However, many users don't realize that Put Away serves two functions:

Option-About This Particular Macintosh...
ATPM article about Finder tips would be complete without a mention of the the "secret Finder about box." Holding down Option while selecting "About This Macintosh..." (or "About This Computer..." if you're using Mac OS 7.6 or later) opens the Finder's about box. Under Mac OS 8, it's in color and lists development team members all the way back to the Lisa days.

Secret Finder About Box


Have any Finder tips or shortcuts I didn't mention? Send 'em over here. We'd love to hear from you.

Blue Apple"The Personal Computing Paradigm" is © 1998 by Michael Tsai, <>.Michael hasn't yet gotten the knack of throwing himself at the ground--and missing.

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