Choose Details in OS X
August 24, 2009 5:43 PM   Subscribe

Mac OSX Filter: How can I change the details displayed for files in a directory while in list view?

This may be a really easy question, but Google has failed me thus far.

When I used XP and viewed directories as lists, I could go to View and then click on 'Choose Details' to pick which file info I wanted displayed.

I can't seem to figure out how to do this on Mac OSX.

The reason I want to do this is because I listen to a lot of podcasts, and the title in the file info is often more instructive than the filename.

Is there any way to 'Choose Details' on Mac OSX?
posted by reenum to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
View Options, in the menu.
posted by Aquaman at 5:47 PM on August 24, 2009

But alas, there are nowhere near as many cool options to view on the mac as there are in XP.
posted by Aquaman at 5:49 PM on August 24, 2009

Perhaps you could import the podcasts into itunes and then you can view the metadata like titles, etc?
posted by avex at 5:59 PM on August 24, 2009

Best answer: Fundamentally, no. OS X makes a distinction between "File metadata" (i.e. info about that file - time, date, creator, etc) and "Document metadata" (i.e. info stored within the file - full title, comments, etc).

XP's Explorer mixes the two. To display document metadata in its file list, Explorer has to basically know what the file is, have a file handler to read it (or at least the metadata stored within), parse every file, and display it. You can see this happening on a long list, or on a slow system: Explorer slows down to a crawl, and you can watch the document metadata be populated file-by-file (particularly icons).

Apple's Finder doesn't - their philosophy is that document metadata is the domain of the app that handles the document, and the Finder shouldn't be interested in that, only the file metadata. So document metadata in, say MP3s, is read by the handling application (iTunes); it's up to the app to do anything more.

(The Finder can can in fact show you document metadata - but only on a case-by-case basis, by using the "Get Info" option in the context menu and looking under the "More Info" tab.)

Note that Spotlight will search on document metadata, for certain types of files (i.e. MP3s) where a file handler is registered. So you can search for artist, full title, keywords, etc if the document contains them. I believe Smart Folders in Leopard (10.5.x) can be based on document metadata too.

Or, simply this: In Explorer (XP), you can view extended info (document metadata) for a whole directory of files. In the Finder (OS X), you can only do this for individual files.

Also note that this is the case in Tiger (10.4.x). AFAIK, Leopard (10.5.x) is the same. Snow Leopard I don't know about, but btw it's due out on the 28th.
posted by Pinback at 6:24 PM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

I don't know how to do this naively in the Finder, but here are some suggestions:

- use iTunes to organize the podcasts. As long as the title field in the file tag is filled out, you'll be able to view and browse amongst multiple podcasts.
- rename the files using the tag data. There's software to automate this.
- use a Finder-replacement. PathFinder is one I've heard favorable reviews of, but I don't know any specifics
posted by now i'm piste at 6:41 AM on August 25, 2009

If I understand the problem, it's simple. Try pressing the spacebar for Quick Look. That shows episode title, author, etc. for podcast files.
posted by ferdinandcc at 4:07 AM on August 26, 2009

And I second PathFinder. I actually just recently bought a license, I liked it so much. Finder:Pathfinder::iMovie:Final Cut Pro.
posted by ferdinandcc at 4:10 AM on August 26, 2009

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