Path Finder 6: The ultimate OS X Finder replacement

path_finder6_iconThe default OS X Finder does its job ok. As long as all you need is simple file management capabilities, then it provides you with everything you need. Perhaps with the exception of being able to cut and paste without needing to hit the alt key.

But if you find yourself using Finder on a daily basis and most of your time at work, then perhaps you should take a look at Path Finder. I can also bet that there would be features there that you would wish Finder had. Now, this isn’t a full review of Path Finder. There simply is just too many features that are really awesome on Path Finder and as such, I highly recommend that you download the 30-days trial and check it out yourself (that’s what I did too!).

So, if the attempt to list all the great features here seems futile, I would however list down those that I’ve found to be extremely useful which tipped me over to recommend it to basically any power Mac user I know.

1. Dual Pane View / Split View

I’m sure you had times where you need to manage files between two different folders, moving them around or even comparing files between the two locations. Using OS X Finder, you would have two Finder window open in order to perform your file management between the two locations efficiently. But with Path Finder’s dual plane view, moving files between two folders can not be any easier. Best of all, every time you resize any of the columns on either side of the pane, the other pane follow suit as well, making it really easy to compare the attributes of the files on the two panes!


Path Finder: Split dual-pane view

2. File Operation Queueing

I never understood why Apple never improved upon the file operations queueing mechanism. It’s simple a known fact that trying to move/copy a file to a location on same physical disk is just slower than if you queued it up. And there are many times when you would want to copy large files from multiple locations all at the same time, then walk away and get something else done while the files copies themselves over to the new location. But if you were to do exactly that using plain old Finder (or any other default file manager on any OS for that matter) everything runs at the same time. For Windows, I’ve used file copier alternatives like Teracopy to replace Windows Explorer’s copy/move operations and have had smart queueing capabilities for a long time. For the Mac, there is Ultracopier which does essentially the same thing as Teracopy. But with Path Finder, this capability is also natively available and I’m preferring the feature on Path Finder because it’s built natively to support OS X, while Ultracopier is a cross platform utility.

Path Finder: File Operations Queueing

Path Finder: File Operations Queueing

3. Drop Stack

Path Finder has this pretty interesting feature called Drop Stack. It is basically a temporary basket where you can drop a collection of files and folders which you wish to eventually copy or move to a new location. Very cool. And perhaps even an alternative way to avoid having queueing issues as noted in the previous point.

Path Finder: Drop Stack

Path Finder: Drop Stack

4. Tabs!

Yup. Path Finder allows you to have tabs! Better still, you can even save tab sets . How awesome is that! Do I even need to elaborate further?

Path Finder: Tabs!

Path Finder: Tabs!

5. Built-in Hex Editor

Not everyone needs a hex editor. But I am one of those who needs one every now and then. So when I found out that Path Finder had one built-in, I was more than ecstatic! For one, there aren’t many good hex editor for the Mac platform too and I didn’t like that I had to pay too much just to have the ability to edit file in hex mode every one and then. Definitely a plus point in my books. :)

Path Finder: Built-in Hex Editor

Path Finder: Built-in Hex Editor

6. And a whole bunch of other cool features like the ability to edit images, tonnes of customisation capabilities, checksum calculations, git and subversion support, batch renaming, and much more!

Path Finder: Built-in Image Editor

Path Finder: Built-in Image Editor

Path Finder: Customisations galore! Here's the contextual menu customisations.

Path Finder: Customisations galore! Here’s the contextual menu customisations.

But there are some areas where I think they can further improve upon. And one of the most glaring area for improvement is the Find tool. Perhaps I’m not getting the hang of using it yet, but I find it much easier to find what I need using OS X’s Finder which allows me to select far more attributes to search the files I’m looking for.

Search attributes: Path Finder (left) vs OS X Finder (right)

Search attributes: Path Finder (left) vs OS X Finder (right)

Overall, I’d still highly recommend Path Finder to anyone who is a power OS X user.

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1 Response

  1. Jan says:

    Nice article, I don’t understand how can ANYBODY use OS X with stock…
    I personally use TotalFinder, which I like especially because it “replaces” Finder and does not add another application. It lacks some features (copy queue, hex editor), but it also is 2 times cheaper. I think it is a good alternative :)

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