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Apple Mac OS X hints and tips

Quick Look files in the Trash

The Trash is a useful feature of OS X and sometimes it can be a life-saver. Probably on more than one occasional you have deleted a file, but at a later time or date realised that you need it after all and then have to find it in the Trash folder and restore it.

We don't always give descritive names to files though and this can sometimes make it difficult to identify the file in the Trash that we want to recover. To compound the problem, if you double click a file in the Trash in order to view the contents and see if it is the one you want, OS X refuses to open it. Trash files are treatedt differently to ordinary files and you can't open them.

So how do you find out which file is the one you want. Well, one way is to drag the likely suspect out of the Trash and drop it on the desktop. You can then double click it to open it and see. If it's not the right one you can drag it back to the Trash and try a different one.

A better method though, is to use Quick Look. Although files can't be opened, for example, a JPEG in Preview, you can select a file and click the Quick Look button in the Finder toolbar to view the JPEG. You can then see if it is the one you want and either restore it or keep on searching.

Quick Look isn't just for viewing images like JPEGs and it can display other file types too, such as text files, documents and so on. It's a handy way of viewing the contents of the Trash.

Another way to find a file in the Trash is to use Cover Flow view. Select View, As Cover Flow or click the icon in the Finder toolbar. You can then browse through the Trash files and view the contents of files until you find the one you are looking for.



Restore Trash using Put Back

A sorely missed feature in OS X has been an option to restore a file from the Trash to its original location. It's not an essential feature, but it is very useful and it is a mystery why we haven't been able to 'undelete' a file. Well, now we can.

Snow Leopard has added a Put Back feature to the Trash and it moves a file back to the place it was deleted from. So if you deleted a file in your Documents folder, you can Ctrl+click the file in the Trash and select Put Back to move it back to the Documents folder. That's excellent, and it's about time too!

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