Upgrade your Brain

Mac OS X Customizability – Part 2: Finder, Browsing, Touchpad and Windows 7 Features

Related: Mac OS X Customizability – Part 1: Desktop

I wish I had known this stuff earlier, so here you go with part 2. This will especially be interesting for people who think the Mac misses some features they like on Windows 7, or that you wonder why Apple didn’t build em in. Small side-note: I use A LOT of apps that modify global input, but it doesn’t cause any problems at all. There was one single incompatibility that KeyRemapForMacbook could fix for me.

The first tool I want to mention is BetterTouchTool which does all sorts of nice & crazy things. For example, it includes the Window Snapping behavior from Windows 7, where you can drag a window somewhere and it maximizes like this:


The tool is free, and does a lot more in this regard, and as you can see from this screenshot, you can configure the hell out of BTT (oh, and the window moving part on the other settings screen is also really nice, like “move the window under the cursor when I hold fn“):


I don’t use a mouse anymore, because BetterTouchTool does LOADs of stuff by configuring gestures for my touchpad. As an example what it can do, I show you the following screenshot with the Chrome settings for nicer tabbed browsing:


Swipe three fingers up to open a tab, down to close it, and tip-taps left and right to hit the shortcuts for switch to left or right tab. Nice right? How cool would it be if Finder had tabs and worked this way? Enter XtraFinder:


Yes, with the tabbed browsing in Finder, I defined the same stuff for the finder that I also defined above for the browser in BetterTouchTool, which looks like this:


XtraFinder is free too, and it also adds a lot of useful stuff freshly converted Windows users miss, like “Create new .txt here”, but also stuff very handy on the Mac like “Create Symlink”, “Open in Terminal” or “Copy Path (with various syntax modes like path, windows path, file-URL, etc…)”. See for yourself some examples as screenshots:



The only thing missing at this point is a fast way to jump to exactly the right folder or file that you need right now. On Windows, I used everything for that, on Mac my first choice was intuitively using Spotlight. Which is fine, it’s just that the last must-have app in this post – Alfred – is faster and better and more customizable. Just install and use it, you’ll see:


Alfred can do a lot of stuff, integrate 1Password (I’m not going to show you a screenshot, but that’s a must have app too), but generally it’s just a great search tool. Btw. the guys behind Alfred have just released the beta of the next major version, which is a complete rewrite that will support some fascinating things like a Google Instant search right on your desktop.


One more giant feature I need to post a screenshot for: Alfred includes a VERY good searchable clipboard history. In the next post of this series, I’ll likely write about automation of basically every thinkable workflow using Keyboard Maestro.

2 thoughts on “Mac OS X Customizability – Part 2: Finder, Browsing, Touchpad and Windows 7 Features

  1. Hi,

    I read your blog about Hay Day. I am on level 20 yet but very addictive on this game which you called brain drug.

    I read all kinds of online article about hay day , yours is the best of all, clear and smart , I did get some trick for the game.

    Just want to say thank you, computer geek!

    Jessie from USA

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