When you switch over from Windows to Mac, you notice that Mac has quite a few nifty tricks up its sleeve. While they may not be available as default, there’s always a scope for coming up with something absolutely out of this world by working on something that already exists. And that is exactly what Antonin over at BinaryAge has managed to do with TotalFinder.
Now, if you’re a Mac user, and you think that tabbed browsing is a blessing to humankind (especially us web dependent kinds), you’re gonna love TotalFinder. In simple language, what TotalFinder does is that it adds tabs to your Finder. So now all your new finder windows open in tabs and you can do just about everything with them that you would do with your web browser, and more.
I personally feel that tabbed interface has been best implemented by Google Chrome, because it just integrates into the system very well and is exceptionally smooth to work with, and I was very happy to notice that TotalFinder implements tabs in just the same way. In fact it’s very easy to mistake the two windows. Now, some people might ask: Why do you want tabs in the first place? Well, I think it tremendously improves performance. Just imagine working in different windows in the pre-tabbed browsing days. It was a pain. Similarly, I’ve never liked the concept of having multiple instances of the same thing running as separate windows. And because I’m on a 13.3-inch screen, I’m almost always short screen space. Yes, sometimes you might need separate windows to easily transfer files between folders or discs, but TotalFinder enables you to do that, too, and do it in style. Coming down to individual features:
- Tabbed browsing: I could say so much about this feature, and still it will never be enough. Tabs work smoothly, and when you need to transfer some files between two open tabs, you can simply drag the file from one tab onto the name of the other tab and it gets transferred. The biggest advantage here is that it is all being implemented Finder style. You aren’t running an entirely new explorer, it’s just a much more powerful version of your good friend – the Finder. If you aren’t comfortable with transferring files in tabbed mode, you can simply just click on a tab and drag it outside the window to open a new Finder window with just that tab. It functions just like your browser, and it’s absolutely worth it.
- Dual Tab Mode: After you use this feature, you’ll never even be able to figure out why you weren’t using tabs in the first place. In my opinion, this is how file transfer should be implemented between windows. Using this feature is easy. You just open two tabs, and then press ⌘U to enable Dual Mode, and just like magic, Total Finder divides your Finder window into two parts, one dedicated to each tab, and now you can easily transfer files by dragging them from one tab to the other one. It saves a lot of screen space. And you can create more than one such dual tabs.
- Folders on Top and System Files: I must confess that I absolutely love this feature. I’d been wondering why Finder hadn’t implemented this in the first place. I believe that folders must always be placed before files, because the two need to be separated, but Finder displays them together. Yes, you could separate all the files and folders by choosing to arrange them “By Type”, but that still doesn’t necessarily put your folders on top. Moreover, it separates all the files on the basis of their extensions. It’s a real pain if your Movies folder contains video files of different formats as well as folders. But the Folders on Top feature in TotalFinder implements this flawlessly. But my only problem is that it does so only when your files are listed in list mode. It doesn’t put folders on the top if you use the icon mode for your files and folders. The system files option simply displays the system files which the finder hides by default.
- Asepsis: I haven’t personally used this feature much, but it does what it says. You’ll begin to notice the .DS files when you start transferring files on your pen drives between Mac and Windows machines, and they do tend to get annoying sometimes, so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want this feature, either.
- Visor: This is another interesting feature. It keeps a dedicated TotalFinder window open all the time, and you can bring it up using a shortcut, and then simply minimize it again. It is designed to take up the entire width of the monitor by default and the height can be adjusted. Actually you can even adjust the width if you choose to do so. It is pretty useful in certain situations, but it might take some getting used to.
So yes, all things considered, I think this is a great software, and everyone must use it to significantly boost up their performance and make things much more convenient than the default Finder interface. I haven’t been able to find any problems with it, and trust me, I tried. While you might wanna try it out first on slower CPUs, but it shouldn’t be any issue for the newer ones. It does sometimes screw up the animation when a Finder window opens, but I think that can be ignored for all the added functionality it provides.
So I insist that you do go and support this single guy doing cool stuff, because he promises to come up with some really cool features in the future, such as Safari-style tabs, Terminal co-operation, and wait for this: Cut and Paste! You can have a 14-day free trial and buy it here for $10 or $15. I highly recommend it.