As the file navigation utility at the heart of OS X the Finder app has always had a contentious standing with Mac users. Some are convinced that it is complete as-is, and needs no enhancement, while others constantly strive to bring new functionality to their own desktops and to OS X users everywhere.
TotalFinder is just such an extension, designed and written by Antonin Hildebrand of Binary Age. As a former game developer and open-source contributor, Antonin has released other handy tools like Visor, providing hot-key access to Terminal from anywhere in OS X, and FireQuery, a Firebug extension tool for jquery development.
Unlike his other two projects, TotalFinder is a paid product, providing a 14-day trial period for interested users. At $15, TotalFinder brings a host of new features to the venerable OS X tool at a relatively low price.
Much like Visor, TotalFinder features hotkey access to a pop-up Finder window giving you instant access to your files without having to navigate to another window through Exposé. You can cut, copy, and paste into and out of Finder windows easily, making the process of shifting files around even simpler than it was before.
Tabbed Browsing is a popular feature found in most modern browsers; Hildebrand has applied that paradigm to the Finder window, keeping your desktop clean of multiple orphaned panes. For even more convenience, the optional Dual Mode can be turned on, letting you see two mirrored Finder windows side-by-side. It’s a brilliant way to handle copying or moving files between drives, across media types, or even across your network.
Smaller changes like viewing system files, and moving folders to the top of list view are elements that just make sense, and it’s surprising they’re not more readily accessible in Finder. TotalFinder takes care of both with a single click.
Accessing and maintaining TotalFinder’s options can be done through Finder’s Preferences window. Four buttons give you access to finalized features and some experimental options. There’s a simple way to reset TotalFinder to factory settings, making the process of experimentation palatable and worry free.
Perspective: We’ve been using TotalFinder for almost a week now, and have found that Tabs, Dual View, and the Visor are all useful. Dual View tends to be the most used feature, followed by Tabs. Being able to copy easily from one location to another in the same Finder window make Dual View the killer app for us, while users who find themselves drowning in Finder windows may find Tabs to be their saving grace.
A recent AppSumo bundle featured as one of the core components for the first 500 buyers, making that particular bundle a real bargain for those lucky few. For the rest of us, we consider $15 is a low price for the functionality and time-savings found in TotalFinder. The app still needs a little polish: the Visor seems absolutely huge when used on a portable 13″ or 15″ screen, taking up more than 2/3 of the available space without any apparent way to resize it. The good news is that Mr. Hildebrand appears quite dedicated to his projects, rolling out new features and tweaking older ones as they progress.
We recommend TotalFinder for Mac OS X, with a technogram weight of: