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Jorge Piñon

Sad Mac App Dialogs #

January 21, 2014

I've always customized my Finder windows to include what I think are very useful buttons. There's a lot you can do to suit your needs. To customize a window toolbar, Ctl-click on it:

screenshot of basic MacOS window toolbar

What you get is a panel that slides down, revealing a whole lot of customization that would make a Linux user's eyebrows rise ever so slightly.

screenshot of opened customization panel

Drag any buttons in or out of the toolbar. Move them around. Get all designy with it.

I love the “Path” and “Action” buttons and have added them anytime I get a new computer or upgrade my OS. First day. Those little things make working in the Finder many times more efficient. In fact, one thing I miss from my brief time working on an XP maching (shudder) was the ability to actually add files and edit filenames right from within any dialog box.

Unfortunately, on a Mac, app Save and Open dialog boxes don't let you do much other than the task itself. It’s a window into your filesystem, and let's you navigate around, but no editing. Even “quick look” works on a file in a dialog box. But there’s sadly no way to edit an app toolbar to add buttons like “Path” or “Action”.

Here's the sad, uncustomizable app dialog box toolbar on Mountain Lion (10.8.5, and I think it's the same in Mavericks):

screenshot of an iCloud dialog toolbar

Thanks to John Siracusa for pointing me to Default Folder X. It seems to do a lot of what I want and more. This sentence from the website says it perfectly:

It also lets you get info on, rename, and delete existing files, putting the Finder’s power in every Open and Save dialog.

It’s $35 for a single license ($30 each for 2 or more), which is more than I usually spend on utility software, but the $25 I paid for Alfred was money well spent, and this looks like a winner too. If you’re like me and need to talk yourself into anything more than $5, keep in mind that Mac OS is now free.