Customizing the Finder Toolbar in OS X

Finder is the primary method of navigating through your Mac’s hard drive and managing your files and folders. While the Finder Toolbar has a set of essential functions available by default, such as the View, Quick Look and Action icons, few OS X users ever realize the depth of customization that is possible with the Toolbar.

Not only can you extend the functionality of the Finder Toolbar by adding more items, you can even add your favorite applications, folders and drives for ease of access, as well as quickly change the style of the Toolbar itself.

As with other aspects of OS X, when first switching to Mac, it’s worth taking a few minutes to explore and understand the available options, and customize the Finder Toolbar to meet your needs. In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the wealth of customization possibilities.

1.) Here is our default Finder Toolbar set-up:

The Default Finder Toolbar Layout.png

As you can see, OS X has by default icon options to navigate Back and Forward, change how the Finder window displays files and folders, the Quick Look button and a drop-down menu for Actions.

2.) Let’s take a look at what Finder Toolbar options are available. Click on View and select Customize Toolbar:

Selecting Customize Toolbar from the Finder View Menu.png

3.) A pane will drop down displaying the various additions we can make to our Finder Toolbar:

Finder Toolbar Customization pane.png

There are a number of useful functions that we can add to our Toolbar for ease of access, such as one-click disk Eject and Burn icons, or file management buttons such as New Folder and Delete. There are also Separators and Spaces for ordering our Toolbar.

4.) We’ve decided to add the Eject icon to our default line-up. To add it, simply click on and drag the icon from the Customization pane onto the Toolbar. Other icons will slide to either side to make space :

Dragging an icon onto the Finder Toolbar.png

5.) To remove an item already on the Toolbar, simply click on it and drag it off, then let go of the Left Mouse Button. It will disappear in a puff of smoke:

Deleting an Item from the Finder Toolbar.png

6.) You can add as many icons as you wish to the Toolbar. Dependent on the size of the individual Finder window, the Search box may shrink to accommodate the icons, or an Arrow will appear, allowing access to the icons that the window could not fit into view:

Using the Finder Toolbar Arropw to Access Hidden Icons.png

7.) You can choose from a drop-down menu whether the functions are represented by Icon Only, Text only or Icon and Text together, as well a shrink the icon size by ticking the Use small size option box:

Finder Toolbar View Options.png

8.) If at any point, you wish to return to the default layout of the Finder Toolbar icons, simply click on the default set in the lower half of the Customization pane, and drag it up onto the Toolbar. This will reset all your changes:

Restoring the Default Finder Toolbar Layout.png

When you have finished customizing the Toolbar to your taste, click on Done.

9.) The Customization Pane is not the only source for adding additional functionality to the Toolbar, though. You can also add any application, file or folder to it for ease of access. Simply navigate to the location on your hard drive displaying the required icon, click on it with Left Mouse Button and drag it up onto the Toolbar. In this example, we’ve decided to add the Disk Utility application to our Toolbar by navigating to the Utilities folder and dragging the icon up:

Dragging an Application onto Finder Toolbar.png

10.) To rearrange any icon on your Toolbar, hold Cmd (⌘), then click on the required icon and drag it either horizontal direction. To remove it completely, hold down Cmd (⌘), click on the icon and drag it entirely off the Toolbar before releasing the Left Mouse Button.

11.) Finally, to quickly cycle through the different display styles for the Toolbar, hold down Cmd (⌘) and click on the Toolbar Control button located in the top-right of the Finder window. You can then click through each of the available styles. Here, we’ve changed our Toolbar to display Text Only:

Using the Finder Toolbar Control Button.png

OS X may be one of the most approachable and easy to use operating systems in modern computing, but that doesn’t mean it has sacrificed the ability to be customized in great depth. Take some time to explore the many options for making the Finder Toolbar your own.

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