How to use Path Finder 8 as a macOS Finder alternative

Path Finder 8 is an expansive macOS Finder alternative. Here's how to wield Path Finder to your advantage.

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Figure A

Whether you need a more customizable file management interface, dual-pane functionality, or more file administration capabilities than are included within macOS' native Finder program, Cocoatech's Path Finder 8 provides a capable, comprehensive substitute (Figure A). The $40 application offers a complete suite of features.

Path Finder 8 includes Dropbox, iCloud, and file tagging support, as well as multiple view options, as is true for Finder. But Path Finder 8 also possesses the ability to merge folders, a file transfer queue and ACL (permissions) and hex editing. Users can execute commands and perform text and image editing actions from directly within the file management, too.

SEE: 10 essential apps and utilities for your Mac (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Modules, which enable many such actions, are a particularly intriguing feature. The drag-and-drop modular elements (some of which are shown in Figure B) permit adding individual panes, such as Info, that display corresponding information for highlighted elements or permit performing actions, such as Terminal operations (both are shown in Figure C). Just drag-and-drop the corresponding Module icon to the location where you intend for that element to appear within the Path Finder 8 interface.

Figure B

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Figure C

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The app's Drop Stack feature enables copying or moving files from multiple locations using a single window pane. Drop Stack works by temporarily creating a "stack" where the files are collected before being copied or moved together to the new location.

With a customizable sidebar, most users will start their Path Finder experience by dragging commonly used folders to the Favorites section. The next step in setting up Path Finder according to your preferences is adding respective modules. Last, determine whether you wish to work with twin windows, which simplifies copying and moving files between locations. Should you wish to toggle between single- and double-window views, that's no trouble—Path Finder's developers have you covered. Just click Dual Browser from the View menu or leverage the F1 keyboard shortcut. F2, meanwhile, swaps the contents of the visible window panes.

Should you need to compare or sync two folders' contents (on occasion I've encountered this when needing to differentiate between deprecated or legacy files or file collections with newer versions), Path Finder helps there, too. The FolderSync feature compares and syncs files and folders for you. Use FolderSync by opting for the Dual Browser view and selecting the two directories or locations you wish to compare and synchronize, and then selecting FolderSync from Path Finder's Commands menu. The FolderSync window will appear, and Path Finder will analyze the contents of both locations (Figure D).

Figure D

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Select the actions you wish to perform from the provided options, such as syncing packages as folders and comparing files, use the Compare drop-down menu to specify the direction in which the files should sync, and then click the Sync button. Path Finder takes care of the rest.

The bottom line

The more time you spend with the file management utility, the more likely you'll come to believe $40 was a worthy investment, as the shortcuts, functions, and capabilities Path Finder introduces help save time. And the time savings add up, considering how often many users perform the corresponding actions throughout each business day.

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By Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...