I posted a way to show hidden files in OS X’s Finder a while back and have found a much better option that I thought I’d share. Path Finder from cocoatech is an amazing app, and even with the improvements to the Finder in Leopard, Path Finder still blows it out of the water. Five reasons I can’t live without it:
1) Show Hidden Files. This is huge when you’re working with a website that requires the .htaccess file or editing system files without the Terminal. If I want to copy a folder or group of files while ignoring .DS_Store files and .svn (Subversion) files, the Finder is great. But .htaccess is going to be left behind too. Path Finder shows and hides system files with a simple “show invisibles” checkbox.
2) Those Relentless .DS_Store Files. Sure, they tell the finder what font size, color or format to show each unique finder window in, but come on… do we REALLY need this written in every folder the Finder touches whether we change the layout or not? I hate clutter. Even if it’s invisible clutter. Path Finder shows folders without adding a .DS_Store file to tell you it’s been there.
3) Compressing Folders. Have you ever opened one of those .zip files you’re sending your PC friends that you compressed from the Finder? They’re filled with all kinds of extra junk that you can’t see on a Mac, but confuses the hell out of someone on a PC who’s looking at two versions of every file in the folder (a hidden __MACOSX folder contains duplicates (0 or 1KB versions) of every file – most likely meta data about each file). Path Finder compresses folders without adding… whatever that is that the Finder adds.
4) Tabs. Tabs… hello, Apple? TABS!! They’re everywhere now. They should be on the Finder too. Even my toaster has tabs now.
5) Sort Folders First. If I had to choose one thing I miss from my days on Windows, it would be that the Windows Explorer always sorted folders first, and then files. I always found it hard to quickly find things in the Finder with folders and files all jumbled together (sorting by “Kind” fixes this… sort of). Path Finder brings that back, and it’s oh so nice.
Another nice feature (I could go on with 20 more of these, but I won’t) is something they call the “Drop Stack.” It’s a magical place where you can put files… almost like a little favorites drawer, to access quickly, or burn to a CD, without creating a folder on the Desktop for them.
So I suggest you check out Path Finder – it’s well worth the $35 you’ll shell out for it.