Why OS X Is Better Than OS 9, Reason Six: Column Views

by Hadley Stern Jun 13, 2003

image Once you get used to working in column views in OS X nothing is better. It is a way of viewing files that is set up the way they are set up. This simple imitation of the folder metaphor makes searching through volumes and folders easier.

The other fantastic thing about column views is OS Xs uncanny ability to preview files. Forget those dinky little image icons you got in OS 9. Think large-sized previews. And OS X doesnt just let you view static images now, it brings Quicktime movies, Flash swfs, and others into life right in your finder window. These motion previews have proven invaluable in my work, which often involves working with multiple Flash movie files. Now finding that right file can be done right where it should be, in the finder.

But even Column views could use room for improvement. I often find files by viewing by date modified. I have yet to figure out how to do this with column-view, it’s only shortcoming as far as I can tell. If anyone knows how to do this,  please post below.

Column view is now an indispensable part of the way I work and my preferred way of working my way through long server volumes to find that right file hidden in that deep folder. It is one of the most efficient ways to view files and yet another reason why OS X blows away OS 9.


  • I too love column view! 

    But I find it outragously funny that a number of my friends still use icon view.  In my opinion icon view is the slowest way to navigate through your hard drive.  The only reason I can see to use icon view is that people like to look a big pretty icons!

    Long live column view!


    mitchman had this to say on Jun 14, 2003 Posts: 1
  • I hate column views!

    For Panther, Apple needs to provide an option to change views in the Open/Save dialogs.

    It’s great that some people find column views useful. But—I don’t want to be forced to use it (ie. in the Open/Save dialog), since it doesn’t work for me.

    This issue has bugged me since day one and hasn’t been addressed. I still hate opening and saving files in OS X because of the column views. It always takes me several clicks and scrolls just to figure out what is selected and where I’m at.

    It is extremely disappointing that Apple hasn’t given users the option of which view to use in the Open/Save dialogs.

    I find that the Windows XP Open/Save dialogs are significantly easier to use—and that’s sad. All I ask for is the choice to decide whether or not to use column view. Those that love it can continue to use it and those of us that don’t, have an option available to us.

    Mark had this to say on Jun 15, 2003 Posts: 1
  • Column view is very nice… Ive been using it since 1990 w/ my first NeXT cube.. .and the main reason for it being very handy is that you see into the files like a pedigree and scroll back to the left to get an very fast and efficent overview where you are at.

    now if you want to copy a file from the desktop to a folder in column view it starts misbehaving and Apple would do good to rework the sliders. they need to be reposition to the left of the column they effect, cos you work from left to right in the western hemisphere… or make it adjustable for the chinese and other countries who things different like we do…

    Apple thought about right and left-handers w/ the 2 USB ports on their PB 17” ... so they could do that as well….

    Panthers column view on the other hand is a step back… I pray, believe and hope that one can omit the “WindowsXP”-style side panel with the shortscuts on the left, whatever the name is for that thingy…

    thanx & shalom
    stefan j.

    stefan j. had this to say on Jun 27, 2003 Posts: 3
  • I don’t really dig the whole column view thing.  I prefer the regular old fashioned icon view…but that’s just me.

    va1entino had this to say on Aug 12, 2003 Posts: 12
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