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  1. 1.5. List View In windows that contain a lot of icons, the list view is a powerful weapon in the battle against chaos. It shows you a tidy table of your files' names, dates, sizes, and so on. In Leopard, alternating blue and white background stripes help you read across the columns in a list-view window. You have a great deal of control over your columns, in that you get to decide how wide they should be, which of them should appear, and in what order (except that Name is always the first column). Here's how to master these columns: 1.5.1. Sorting the List Most of the world's list-view fans like their files listed alphabetically. It's occasionally useful, however, to view the newest files first, largest first, or whatever. When a desktop window displays its icons in a list view, a convenient new strip of column headings appears (Figure 1-17). These column headings aren't just signposts; they're buttons, too. Click Name for alphabetical order, Date Modified to view newest first, Size to view largest files at the top, and so on. It's especially important to note the tiny,dark gray triangle that appears in the column you've most recently clicked. It shows you which way the list is being sorted. When the triangle point supward, the oldest files, smallest files, or files beginning with numbers (or the letter A) appear at the top of the list, depending on which sorting criterion you have selected. Tip: It may help you to remember that when the smallest portion of the triangle is at the top ( ), the smallest files are listed first when viewed in size order. To reverse the sorting order, click the column heading a second time. Now the newest files, largest files, or files beginning with the letter Z appear at the top the list. The tiny triangle turns upside-down. 1.5.2. Flippy Triangles One of the Mac's most attractive features is the tiny triangle that appears to the left of a folder's name in a list view. In its official documents, Apple calls these buttons disclosure triangles; internally, the programmers call them flippy triangles.
  2. Either way, these triangles are very useful: When you click one, the list view turns into an outline, which displays the contents of the folder in an indented list, as shown in Figure 1-18. Click the triangle again to collapse the folder listing. You're saved the trouble and clutter of opening a new window just to view the folder's contents. Figure 1-17. You control the sorting order of a list view by clicking the column headings (top). Click a second time to reverse the sorting order (bottom). You'll find the identical or triangle—indicating the identical information — in email programs, in iTunes, and anywhere else where reversing the sorting order of the list can be useful. By selectively clicking flippy triangles, you can, ineffect, peer inside two or morefolders simultaneously, all within a single list view window. You can move files around by dragging them onto the tiny folder icons. Tip: Once you've expanded a folder by clicking its flippy triangle, you can even drag a file icon out of its folder so that it's loose in the list view window. To do so, drag it directly upward onto the column headings area (where it says Name, for example). When you release the mouse, you see that the file is no longer inside the expanded folder. 1.5.3. Your Choice of Columns Choose View Show View Options. In the dialog box that appears, you're offered on/off checkboxes for the different columns of information Mac OS X can show you, as illustrated in Figure 1-19. Figure 1-18. Click a "flippy triangle" (left) to see the list of the folders and files inside that folder (right). Or press the equivalent keystrokes: -> (to open) and -< (to close).
  3. UP TO SPEED Flippy Triangle Keystrokes The keystrokes that let you open and close flippy triangles in a list view are worth committing to memory. First, pressing the Option key when you click a flippy triangle lets you view a folder's contents and the contents of any folders inside it. The result, in other words, is a longer list that may involve several levels of indentation. If you prefer to use the keyboard, substitute the right arrow key (to expand a selected folder's flippy triangle) or left arrow key (to collapse the folder listing again). Here again, adding the Option key expands or collapses all levels of folders within the selected one. Suppose, for example, that you want to find out how many files are in your Pictures folder. The trouble is, you've organized your graphics files within that folder in several category folders. And you realize that the "how many items" statistic in the status bar shows you how many icons are visible in the window. In other words, you won't know your total photo count until you've expanded all the folders within the Pictures folder. You could perform the entire routine from the keyboard like this: Get to your Home folder by pressing Shift- -H. Select the Pictures folder by typing the letter P. Open it by pressing -O (the shortcut for File Open) or - down arrow. Switch to list view, if necessary, with a quick -2. Highlight the entire contents by pressing -A (short for Edit Select All). Now that all folders are highlighted, press Option-right arrow. You may have to wait a moment for the Mac to open every subfolder of every subfolder. But eventually, the massive list appears, complete with many levels of indentation. At last, the "items" statistic in the status bar gives you a complete, updated tally of how many files and folders, combined, are in the window. up to speed • Date Modified. This date-and-time stamp indicates when a document was last saved. Its accuracy, of course, depends on the accuracy of your Mac's built-in clock.
  4. Note: Many an up-to-date file has been lost because someone spotted a very old date on a folder and assumed that the files inside were equally old. That's because the modification date shown for a folder doesn't reflect the age of its contents. Instead, the date on a folder indicates only when items were last moved into or out of that folder. The actual files inside may be much older, or much more recent. Figure 1-19. The checkboxes you turn on in the View Options dialog box determine which columns of information appear in a list view window. Most people live full and satisfying lives with only the three default columns—Date Modified, Kind, and Size—turned on. But the other columns can be helpful in special circumstances; the trick is knowing what information appears there.  
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