Updated December 18th, 2015.
My first look at Lion’s Finder was a mix of “that looks familiar” and “holy cow, what happened here?”. Some of Lion’s Finder looked like Snow Leopard’s, but some of it didn’t. Turns out that some of the stuff that didn’t is the result of some questionable default choices (by Apple), and since it’s easy to change things, I did. Here’s how.
First, I didn’t like the way Apple made Finder windows look. It felt like something was missing. Have a look.
In fact, something was missing: the slider to change the size of the icons, and the information about how much room was left on the disk– along with the rest of the bottom of the window frame. One quick trip to the View menu and I’d turned on the Status Bar, leaving me with windows looking like this:
That’s better. Now I can use the slider at bottom right to make the icons larger, and now I can see how much room is on the disk (and the number of items in the window).
After using the slider, the thumbnails are large enough to be useful.
Note: of course you could change the size of the icons by going to View/Show View Options (or, Command-J, thanks for reminding me Dave), but that’s a bit of extra work. Just show the Status Bar and be done with it– you’ll have the slider right there all the time, for all Finder windows. One change and you’re done.
Bonus: with the Status Bar showing you have something else to click on when you want to move the window.
I say turn the Status Bar on and leave it on. I also say turn on the Path Bar (in the Finder’s View menu) and leave it on too– that way, you’ll know “the path” to the window you’re looking at. For example, with the Path Bar on, I can see that the folder I’m looking at (“texas flowers”) is in the Pictures folder, on the disk called “cboyce.” I find that incredibly handy. You can double-click any item in the Path Bar and you’ll jump straight there. That’s even more incredibly handy.
The next thing that Apple turns off by default in the Lion Finder is our old friend the scroll bar. You can get the scroll bar back– go to Apple/System Preferences…/General and look for “Show scroll bars:” and then click “Always.”
(The scroll bars in Lion are a little thin for my taste, and there aren’t any arrows to click on at the ends of the scroll bars– something I really hope Apple changes its mind on soon. For now, no scroll arrows, none at all. Ugh.)
While you’re in there, try changing the size of icons in the Finder’s “Sidebar.” Here’s what it looks like with the Sidebar icon size set to “Large.” (No, you can’t change the color– it’s going to be shades of gray for the Sidebar in Lion, not that I see that as an advantage.)
Personally, I like my Sidebar icons “Medium.”
You might want to come back and change your settings here someday down the road so remember where they are (and I agree that it’s weird that some of the Finder’s preferences are handled by selecting “Preferences…” from the Finder menu, while others are handled by going to System Preferences/General).
By the way, there’s no little “lozenge” at the top right of Finder windows to toggle the toolbar and sidebar on and off. Instead, you have to go to the View menu and “Hide Toolbar” or “Show Toolbar.” Why hiding the Toolbar also hides the Sidebar, I don’t know. And there is no preference for putting the lozenge back on. I would just leave the Toolbar (and Sidebar) showing all the time. At least you know how to hide it if you want to.
But wait– there’s more!
What’s wrong with this picture?
What’s wrong is they forgot to show my hard drive on the desktop (or, rather, Apple’s default setting is to NOT show hard disks on the Desktop). That’s fixable: choose Preferences from the Finder menu and check the box for “Hard disks.” Here’s a picture of how it looks right out of the box– I ended up checking all of the first four boxes. Why not. I can turn them off later I suppose.
And that’s about it. I have my scroll bars back, I have my icon-resize slider back, I have my hard disk back. I miss seeing color in the Finder’s Sidebar but I’ll have to live with that for now. Truth is, I think Lion’s Finder is a little bit lost, to make a bad joke. The way I see it, Apple “fixed something that wasn’t broken.” For now, I’m managing, but I’m hoping for some minor changes in a future Software Update.