For most Mac users the Finder in OS X is the go-to app to find files, organize folders, and even launch apps. The Finder has been much maligned through the years, and with good reason. It just didn’t get much love from Apple and was more a relic of the past than a modern utility so central to a Mac owner’s usage.
Apple heard the noise and improved the Finder in recent years, even bending so far as to add Safari-like tabs for multiple Finder windows. For Mac users who demand ‘more power’ (with apologies to Home Improvement), there is a Finder replacement that is both familiar and far more powerful; loaded with useful functionality that doesn’t get in the way.
The Finder replacement is called Path Finder. If to you the Mac’s Finder is anemic, Path Finder may brighten your computing life with an array of capable features that Apple ignores.
Path Finder looks much like the Finder, but only at first glance. There’s the familiar and customizable Toolbar at the top, the lefthand Sidebar for apps, Places, Favorites, Devices, and the like.
More familiarity is visible with Quick Look and Cover Flow, as well as the option to put multiple windows side-by-side in dual pane mode. Unlike the Mac’s Finder, Path Finder also gives you options to open folders with arrow tabs instead of clicking or double-clicking in a different view.
The latest version of Path Finder comes with a one-click dual pane copy mode, a folder sync and comparison option, Dropbox integration, and a cool Shelves mode with eight configurable modules. Unlike the Mac’s Finder you can also batch rename files instead of renaming one at a time. Items in a folder can be grouped based upon different file attributes.
Mac geeks will love the option to monkey with ACL (access control lists), use the built-in Hex Editor, launch apps with a click, and even run Git and Subversion commands without opening Terminal and using the command line. However, command line tools can be executed from within the Path Finder user interface.
Path Finder really is how the Mac’s Finder should have evolved through the years but did not. It’s the Finder, but with far more capabilities deeply integrated into a familiar interface. It’s not for the faint of heart, though. It’s a power tool. The kind Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor would use.