Add tabbed windows to Mac OS X’s Finder

TotalFinder iconWhen tabs finally found their way into Web browsers some years ago, people immediately fell in love with them. In fact, most people wonder how someone could live without them. With Apple’s love for a minimalist interface, you have to wonder why we still don’t have them on the desktop. Whatever the reason, we’ve been left to wait for a third-party solution.

Thankfully, a creative and persistent developer has finally figured out a way to add them into Mac OS X’s Finder without completely replacing the look, feel and functionality of the Finder in the process.

Tabs in Mac OS X's Finder windows

Tabs in Mac OS X's Finder windows

TotalFinder, a SIMBL application by BinaryAge adds elegant tabs, borrowed from Google Chrome, to Mac OS X’s Finder windows. The tabs look, feel and act like tabs in your Web browser for the most part. Along with the tabbed windows (seen above in the screenshot), TotalFinder also adds a few other really cool features.

Though you can drag and drop items between tabs, you can also hit Command + U or double-click a tab while holding the Option key down to merge two adjacent tabs into a sort of dual-pane window. As you can see in the screenshot below, the dual-pane window shows both tabs in the same window, including the sidebar on each side.

Dual-pane tabbed Finder windows

Dual-pane tabbed Finder windows

Another really handy feature is the ability to invoke, via a keyboard shortcut, a window that glides up from the bottom of your screen, called the Visor. The Finder window fills the entire width of your monitor and about one-third the height. You can quickly hide the window with the same shortcut (double tapping the option key, by default). BinaryAge borrowed this idea from Visor, their app which pops open a Terminal window with a keyboard shortcut.

I found the Visor window feature to be somewhat annoying for me, but other users may love it.

TotalFinder doesn’t stop there with the features. You can also set TotalFinder to place folders at the top in list view, stop creation of .DS_Store files, and show invisible files in the Finder. All of TotalFinder’s preferences can be accessed in the Finder Preferences window by hitting Command + , while in the Finder.

TotalFinder is still in Alpha stage, but I’ve found it perfectly usable – experiencing no adverse behavior at all. The developer plans on charging for the app eventually, but until it’s 1.0 release, TotalFinder is free of charge. Considering how long it took Apple to add virtual desktops (called Spaces in OS X), this may be the only way to add tabs to Finder windows for a very long time.

5 thoughts on “Add tabbed windows to Mac OS X’s Finder

  1. Thankfully, a creative and persistent developer has finally figured out a way to add them into Mac OS X

  2. Awesome post.. definitely helpful for any newbie to know the stuff. Keep posting the great articles like this :)

  3. I have tried totalfinder before. It is really nice and simple though.
    I don’t have to worry about changing the whole style of finder (like using alternative finder)
    because it is just a plug-in for finder.
    However, after I install the app, my finder becomes slower.
    It is annoying. I don’t mind paying for that if the creator can fix this problem :)

    On the other hand, why there are two “Notify me via e-mail” below the submit button?
    Notify me of followup comments via e-mail
    Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail

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