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Mac hints and tips 6

Tips index

Find files and folders (10.4)

If you have forgotten where a particular file or folder is stored on the hard disk drive, there is more than one way to find it. You can use Spotlight - click the magnifying glass icon at the top right corner of the screen and enter the name or part of the name of the item you are looking for.

There is another way to find files and folders and you can display a New Search window by holding down the Command key (with the Apple logo), and pressing F. You can also Select File, Find in the Finder menu. There is a box at the top to enter the name or partial name to search for and pop-up menus that apply various filters, for example, click the Any Date pop-up menu and you can choose to find files created or updated today, this week or this month. It is a very powerful search facility that will help you locate misplaced files.

Colour code files and folders (10.4)

We often use colour to indicate various features or functions and red is a warning, stop or danger, while green is for OK, go and safe. You can colour code files and folders on the hard disk drive too and this can be useful for a variety of purposes. For example, you could make work files blue and personl files orange. The colours you use and the significance you attach to them is entirely your choice. Whatever colours you use and for whatever purpose, you will find it easier to spot these files and folders when browsing the disk using Finder.

To colour code a file, hold down the Ctrl key as you click the file and a menu is displayed. Just select a colour in the Color Label section. You will see the filename highlighted in the chosen colour - it doesn't affect the icon.

Find colour coded files (10.4)

Another reason why colour coding files and folders is useful is that it enables you to find them more easily because you can search for colour tags. Select File, Find in Finder and a New Search window will open on the desktop. Click the Kind pop-up menu button in the window and select Color Label. A colour palette is then displayed to the right of the pop-up menu button and you can select the colour of the file you are searching for. Of course, you need to know what colour a file is, but if you have used red for work file and green for personal files for example, by searching for only red or only green labelled files you can more easily find what you are looking for and irrelevent matches do not clutter up the results.

Finder color labels

Search for multiple colour labels (10.4)

Using certain colours for specific types or groups of files is a useful way of organising the contents of the hard disk drive. In the last tip we saw how to search for files and folders that had been colour coded. This is useful, but suppose the file you are looking for could be either one colour or another? Perhaps you have colour coded two projects blue and orange and you aren't sure which project a file was stored in. Well, you can simply search for both blue and orange files at the same time.

Select File, Find in Finder and a New Search window will open on the desktop. Click the Kind pop-up menu button in the window and select Color Label. A colour palette is then displayed to the right of the pop-up menu button and you can select the colour of the file you are searching for. If you then hold down the Command key (the one with the Apple logo), you can select additional colour labels. Just click as many as you need and the search results will include all the colours you select.

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