An Introduction to the Finder Toolbar

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By default, the top of every Finder window contains a Finder Toolbar, a row of icons each associated with a specific action or display option.
Here's the default toolbar in Mac OS X Leopard:

finder_toolbar_01.pngAs you're learning how to use a Mac, you may want to enable the text under each set up buttons to help you learn the buttons.  Once enabled, you'll see the following view:

Back and Forward
The first two icons on the far left are the Back and Forward navigation buttons.   Collectively, they are referred to as the 'Back; buttons. These two buttons work just like the back and forward buttons on a modern day web browser.

By default, if you are working in a Finder window and double click on a folder,  it will open and Mac OS X Finder will navigate to that folder.  Note that a new Finder window will not open.  In such a scenario, the Back and Forward buttons will be operational.  The Back button takes you to the previous folder or location that you were at, the Forward button will only work after you have used the Back button.

View Buttons
The four icons in the middle adjust the Finder view.  There are four ways to view things in Finder.  Moving left to right the buttons will display items by icon, by list, by path (also known as column view), and in Cover Flow.

Quick Look
Moving to the right, the next button is called QuickLook.  This view was added in Mac OS X Leopard and offer a quick and easy way to view files and documents without having to open their associated application.

Action Button
The last icon on the far right is known as the Action button and is used as a shortcut to invoke actions such as creating a New Folder or to view/change the Finder's Display options.

To use any of the Finder Toolbar cuttons simply click on it (if applicable).  You can even customize the Finder Toolbar to suit your unique computing habits.

  • March 10, 2009 - content revision, image updates
Created: 11:00 PM on Dec 24, 2006
By: switchtoamac