The Finder’s Icon view is the default view for folders. In Icon view, each object in a folder is represented by icons. This lets you quickly and easily identify what an object is. For instance, folders stand out because of the folder icon they use. Microsoft Word files have their own icon, or if your Mac supports it, Word files may display a thumbnail view of the first page in the document.
Icon view has a lot going for it. You can rearrange icons in any order you wish, quickly sort icons, and clean up any mess you may have created in arranging icons. You can also control a great deal about how the icons look and behave.
Icon View Options
To control how your icons will look and behave, open a folder in a Finder window, then right-click in any blank area of the window and select ‘Show View Options.’ If you prefer, you can bring up the same view options by selecting ‘View, Show View Options’ from the Finder menus.
- Always open in icon view: Placing a check mark next to this option will cause this folder to always use Icon view when you first open the folder. You can of course use the Finder view buttons to change the view type after you open the folder in the Finder.
- Icon size: Use this slider to dynamically adjust the size of the icons in this folder. The larger the icon, the easier it is to see the thumbnail previews. Of course the larger they are, the more room they take up.
- Grid spacing: Use the grid spacing slider to adjust how far apart icons can be. Grid spacing does not prevent you from dragging icons around anywhere you wish. Instead, it specifies the spacing that will be used when you select the cleanup option to get your icons back to a more orderly presentation.
- Text size: This dropdown menu lets you specify the text size used for an icon’s name.
- Label position: You can choose to display the text name of an icon at the bottom of the icon or to the right of the icon.
- Show item info: Placing a check mark here will cause icons (mostly folders and images) to display additional information, such as the number of items in a folder or the size of an image.
- Show icon preview: This option enables or disables the ability of icons to show a thumbnail preview of the icon’s content. With a check mark in place, the icons will show a preview; with the check mark removed, the file’s default icon will display.
- Arrange by: This dropdown menu allows you to select how icons in the folder will be arranged. The choices are by Name, Date, Size, Kind, or Label; you can also select None. There is also a Snap to Grid option that will force icons to conform to a grid. With Snap to Grid turned on, any time you drag and drop an icon it will automatically move to the closest grid point.
- Background: There are three background options: White, Color, or Picture. White is the default, and the background most people choose to use. If you select Color, a color well (small rectangle) will display. Click on the color well to use the Color Picker to select the color of your choice for the background. If you select Picture, you can use any image on your Mac as a background for the Finder window. Before you get carried away, be aware that using a background picture will slow down the opening and moving of Finder windows, because your Mac must redraw the picture every time the folder moves or changes size.
The last option in the Icon view window is a ‘Use as Defaults’ button. Clicking this button will cause the current folder’s view options to be used as the default for all Finder windows. If you click this button by accident, you may not be pleased to discover that every Finder window has a strange color background, really small or large text, or some other parameter that you changed.