A View for all Reasons - Part Five

Written and published June 19, 1999

This should be the last article about views - unless someone comes up with a question I've left unanswered by the end of this week's column. So here goes... we'll see how well I've covered everything. This week we look at copying and moving files.

Mix and Match

In the past few weeks you've seen the best of using List and Icon views. Of course, nothing on the Mac is black and white (or even gray or platinum). Here on the Mac, you can have a colorful mix of views. You get to use the right view at the right time, when it's handy -- or just when you feel like it.

To move a file from one folder to another while in list view, you click the arrow beside the folder that contains the file (so you can see the file you need to move). Then you simply drag the file up or down until it lands on the folder into which you want it to land. But what happens when your list of folders is longer than your screen can reveal? Then you need to do some scrolling - which can be easy, or can be a pain.

To do the scroll thing:

  1. Click the arrow beside the folder that contains the file.
  2. Click on the file, then begin to drag it up or down toward the destination folder. (Press Option while you drag if you want to make a copy the file instead of just moving it.)
  3. If you're moving a file downward, when you hit the bottom of the window, slowly move your cursor into the gray scroll area. If you're moving a file upward, when you hit the top of the window, slowly move your cursor into the title bar. When the tip of the arrow hits the gray area, or title bar, the window scrolls. The further down you move the arrow, the faster the scrolling.
  4. When the destination folder is in view bring the tip of the arrow over that folder so it becomes selected, release the mouse to drop the file into that folder.

Here are some things to know about scrolling:

Sometimes it takes a moment for scrolling to begin. Scroll speed depends on the number of items in your window and how far you need to scroll. With a few items, it'll scroll faster than you can keep up with. With many items the window scrolls more slowly so you have more control - and a longer wait. It's not just the number of folders you have in the window that effects speed and the distance you need to scroll; it's the number of exposed files. If you have many folders open (via the blue arrow to the folder's left), you have many files to scroll over. To speed up scrolling, before you move files in List View, close all unnecessarily open folders.

So what happens when you have a lot of files to move? One solution is to move all the files at once. This works if all the files are from the same folder. To move several files at once, use the usual Finder methods of multiple selection. The easiest method is to press Shift as you click on each file you wish to select. When they're all selected, click on any one of the selected files and drag it to the new folder. The others will come along for the ride.

However, that can be tricky. What if you don't have the hang of dragging long distance and don't want to deal with dropping a bunch of files in the wrong place by accident. (You'll get the hang of it soon enough, but we're talking right now. And right now you just may not be ready.) Since this is the Mac, it's no big deal - there are other solutions. Or what if the files you want to move are not all from the same folder? By staying in list view, you'd have to scroll long distance several times. But, since this is the Mac there's a better solution.

The solution:

  1. Keep your hard drive window set to List View so you can see all of the folders and their contents (with just a click on any folder's arrow).
  2. Double-click on the folder to which you will be moving some of your files. That way the destination folder is open as its own window and can be placed anywhere that's convenient.
  3. Size the folder any way that allows it to appear somewhere beside the hard drive window. Narrow down the hard drive window if needed. The destination folder can be viewed in any view that works for you.

In the case of a CD I am creating, I have folders set up by category, as shown. Inside some of these folders are two more folders, one that says Mac and one for Windows. I collect things for this CD in another folder and once in a while drag items into the appropriate folder letting them spring open to get the files into the Mac or Windows folder inside.

From now on, as you work you can open any folder, put it in any location, and set it to any view that works best for you at the time. Review the past columns if you need ideas.

Another Reader's Spring-Loaded Folders Tip

The day last week's column appeared, Ken Bruno wrote in with this helpful comment. If you tend to let your mouse rest over folders as you think, and find the folders springing open when you don't want them to, this is your solution.

I just read your article on MacCentral "A View for All Reasons - Part Four" and agree totally that spring-loaded folders are a great feature. I find, however, that they can be annoying since if you set the delay too long you wait forever and if you set it too short then you will often overdo it and go past your objective. The answer to this is to totally turn off spring-loaded folders. Even with the option turned off you can still hit the spacebar and the folder you are over will spring open. It's the best of both worlds and I use it all the time!

Next Week

Next week I'll talk about typing shortcuts. I hope you'll come back to join us. Maybe it'll help your fingers do less walking.

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