Mac101 – Finder Column View


I prefer Column View of all the ways you can configure the macOS Finder. List view is good for getting info on files and folders. However, I find Column View most efficient for navigating and working in the Finder. One helpful feature of Column View is the Preview Pane.

Finder Preview Pane

If you open the Finder window and click on a file or folder in Column View it will look something like this:


That is a PDF file of the plans for a box that I am making. Of course, Column View is set in the Finder toolbar area. The Preview Pane is in the far-right column. The Preview Pane provides a great visual of what your file looks like, making it easy to identify.

I did not know this until recently; if you move your mouse over a multi-page document, the Finder provides navigation arrows:


This enables you to navigate through your document. It really is too small to read unless you put the Finder in Full-Screen Mode, but it could still be useful. In this woodworking plans document, I navigated to this page:


If you double-click on the page,  the document will be opened to that page. Here is a video file in the Preview Pane:


As you can see, you can play the video right in the Preview Pane. The only drawback to using the Preview Pane is it can slow down your Finder screen redraws a little. I don’t really find this noticeable, but if it is a problem on your Mac you can turn it off in the Finder View Menu:


The Preview Pane will be hidden until you go back to the “View Menu” and select “Show Preview”.


I hope this information on the Preview Pane is useful. I use it constantly. I find it helps me find and identity files faster.