With the recent focus on Default Folder X’s integration with Path Finder, I’ve been fielding a number of questions about how to make Default Folder X open folders in Path Finder instead of the Finder.
Using Path Finder instead of the Finder for all apps
The first, simplest answer is that Default Folder X uses your “default file browser” when opening folders. If you set your default file browser to be Path Finder, selecting a folder from Default Folder X’s menus will open it in Path Finder. This will also make all other apps on your Mac use Path Finder for their “Reveal in Finder” commands.
“But how the heck do I set Path Finder as my default file browser?” you say. Well, I’m glad you asked! It’s easy – there’s a setting in your Path Finder preferences:
Using Path Finder instead of the Finder – but just for Default Folder X
If you’d rather make this apply only to Default Folder X, you can set Default Folder X’s “fileViewer” preference in Terminal with this command:
Note that if you’re using the Setapp version of Path Finder, you should replace ‘com.cocoatech.PathFinder’ with ‘com.cocoatech.PathFinder-setapp’. To tell Default Folder X to go back to using the Finder instead of Path Finder, just replace ‘com.cocoatech.PathFinder’ with ‘com.apple.finder’.
Toggling between Path Finder and Finder on the fly
And finally, if you want to get really fancy and sometimes have Default Folder X open folders in the Finder and sometimes in Path Finder, you can set up an AppleScript to toggle back and forth. Attaching a script like this to a keyboard shortcut using Peter Lewis’ amazing Keyboard Maestro app makes it super-easy:
-- set the 'currentViewer' variable to the current fileViewer setting set currentViewer to do shell script "defaults read com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 fileViewer" -- now switch to whichever fileViewer is currently not in use if currentViewer is "com.apple.finder" then do shell script "defaults write com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 fileViewer com.cocoatech.PathFinder" else do shell script "defaults write com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 fileViewer com.apple.finder" end if
Version 5.5.9 of Default Folder X is available. One very significant improvement is its “reaction time” to bring up its controls when an Open or Save dialog comes up on the screen.
Under the hood, Default Folder X relies on notifications from macOS to alert it to the presence of a file dialog, and then queries the system to determine the dialog’s characteristics (whether it’s an Open or Save dialog, whether it’s a sheet or window, which folder it’s displaying, etc). In Big Sur, the system’s responses have become slower under some circumstances, resulting in a longer delay before Default Folder X’s controls appear around Open and Save dialogs. Version 5.5.9 streamlines the queries that Default Folder X makes to the system, resulting in a much quicker response after it’s notified that an Open or Save dialog has popped up – it’s nearly twice as fast as previous versions.
And in the process of analyzing Default Folder X’s performance to make it more responsive, I found some inefficiencies in the way it collects and organizes its lists of the windows open in the Finder (and Path Finder and ForkLift, if you’re running those apps). Those inefficiencies have been eliminated as well, reducing Default Folder X’s CPU usage and further improving its response time.
There are also a few fixes in the Finder-click feature to work around a bug in the macOS Finder: Default Folder X will no longer display some tabs of a Finder window as separate windows when the Finder returns incorrect data. In addition, you should now be able to reliably traverse DFX’s menus with the keyboard, and selecting the default folder item in the Favorites menu will work consistently.
For folks that use Path Finder (an excellent Power User’s alternative to the Finder), you’ll be happy to know that Path Finder is now a fully supported alternative when you’re using Default Folder X. Anywhere that DFX integrates with the Finder, it will now use Path Finder if it’s running.
New in this release is the ability to add Default Folder X’s shortcut buttons to Path Finder’s toolbars. This lets you quickly pop up Default Folder X’s menus or slide out its drag-and-drop drawer by clicking a button in the toolbar.
Default Folder X also now “sees” all of the tabs in Path Finder’s windows. Every folder that you have in a Path Finder window will be shown in Default Folder X’s “Finder Windows” menu and highlighted by it’s Finder-click feature in Open and Save dialogs.
For those of you that _don’t_ use Path Finder, this release delivers a bunch of important bug fixes, so please don’t pass it up. Chief among them are fixes for the occasional disappearing cursor in Open and Save dialogs (finally), better reliability when switching between folders, and the elimination of a hang that could occur as Default Folder X was launching.
Download links and a full list of changes are available on the Default Folder X Release Page, or if you’re already running Default Folder X, just choose “Check for Update” from its menu to get the update.
In Big Sur 11.1, Apple introduced an annoying system bug that made Open and Save dialogs revert to a very small size every time you used them. To see anything in the dialog, you pretty much had to resize them. Every. Single. Time. Default Folder X 5.5.4 brought a fix for this – forcing the dialogs back to your preferred, larger size whenever they came up.
Fast forward to Big Sur 11.2, and Apple has fixed the bug so dialogs now stay larger once you resize them – yay! Well, mostly yay anyway. The sidebar still bounces back to its narrow, “I can’t read the names of my folders” width of about 100 pixels every second time you use an Open or Save dialog. <sigh>
So here’s Default Folder X 5.5.6. If you resize the sidebar in an Open or Save dialog, Default Folder X will make sure it bounces back to that size the next time you use the same file dialog.
In addition, this release expands support for HoudahSpot so that you now get the “Search in HoudahSpot” menu item in Default Folder X’s utility menu if you’re using the version of HoudahSpot included in the Setapp subscription service. It previously only worked with copies of HoudahSpot bought directly from Houdah Software.
And because someone asked for it, holding down the Option key while selecting a Folder Set from Default Folder X’s menu in your menu bar will open all of your Favorite folders in the Finder. So if you’ve got multiple Folder Sets for different projects or workflows, you can now instantly open all of those folders in the Finder when you’re starting work. (A few of you old-timers might remember that this was actually a feature in version 4 that didn’t make the jump to v5 – now it’s back!)
There are also a few bug fixes in version 5.5.6, as I’m still chasing after the elusive problem of the cursor sporadically disappearing on some Macs (but not others). Full release notes and download links are on the Default Folder X Release Page. Or just choose “Check for Updates” from Default Folder X’s menu if you’re already running it.
Version 5.5.5 of Default Folder X is now available for download. This maintenance release corrects a number of problems that have been reported recently:
Items in the drag zone and Finder drawer now expand to show longer file and folder names. By default, they’ll get marginally larger when necessary. You can, however, use the defaults command in Terminal to make them really big if you want. Just set maxDrawerContentWidth and maxDragZoneContentWidth to 200 or so.
Problems with the cursor disappearing in file dialogs on Big Sur have been corrected – because this didn’t get completely fixed in the last release 🙄.
Resolved a problem that could crash JetBrains apps like IntelliJ and GoLand. This was actually not a bug in Default Folder X, but a result of most Java apps not handling the macOS Accessibility API correctly (and hanging or crashing). Default Folder X now correctly detects that JetBrains apps are indeed written in Java and doesn’t add its enhancements to them.
Eliminated errors that were occurring when the Finder relaunched.
There’s also a fix to an unofficial feature: If you’ve got “Finder-click changes view mode” turned on in the hidden prefs window (Option-click on Preferences in DFX’s menu to get to it), clicking on a Finder window would sometimes set the wrong view mode. This was because Default Folder X would occasionally miss the fact that you’d changed the view mode of a Finder window. This has been fixed.
Download links for the new version and a less complete list of changes are on the Default Folder X Release Page. Or if you’re already running Default Folder X (thank you!), just select “Check for Update” from its menu in your menu bar.
Version 5.5.4 of Default Folder X, our utility for speeding your navigation in file dialogs and the Finder, is now available. It automatically restores the size of Open and Save dialogs that you’ve resized before, as well as ensuring that they’re at least large enough that the file list is visible. Yes, the system is supposed to handle those details for you, but Big Sur 11.1 doesn’t do it’s job there.
And yes, Default Folder X’s forced resizing is a “hack” – it looks ugly because the file dialog comes up, then resizes after it has appeared. But given the number of emails I’ve received about the dialogs being too small, I figure an ugly solution is better than no solution 🤷🏻♂️ Oh, and it restores the width of the left sidebar too.
In other news, this release also remedies a number of issues that people have reported over the last month. This includes Default Folder X failing to launch properly at startup, issues with Photoshop, Notability and NeoFinder, and problems with the cursor disappearing in Open and Save dialogs. I’ve also cleaned up some details in how DFX shows and hides its controls as you click around in a file dialog, so operation is now smoother and more coordinated.
Full release notes are on the Default Folder X release page, along with links to download the new version. Or if you’re already running an earlier revision of Default Folder X, just choose “Check for Update” from its menu in your menu bar.
Yes, the Open and Save dialogs keep appearing at their smallest possible sizes in Big Sur 11.1. It’s not just you, and it’s not something you’ve done wrong – it’s a bug in Big Sur.
The problem is worst in Save dialogs that offer additional options, like the one below from the “Save as PDF” menu when printing. You’re left with just 2.5 items showing in the list of files!
First, to resize one of these tiny file dialogs, just click on the bottom, right corner and drag the window to a larger size. Note that if you’re running Default Folder X, you need to grab the corner of the file dialog, not the corner of Default Folder X’s bezel around it.
Sadly, resizing the dialog so it’s larger only works on the current one. Every time you’re presented with an Open or Save dialog, it’ll be back to its uselessly small size again because Big Sur doesn’t remember the past size like it’s supposed to.
To work around this problem until Apple fixes it (hopefully in Big Sur 11.2), you can set Default Folder X to force dialogs back to the size you dragged them to. To do that, hold down the Option key and choose Preferences from Default Folder X’s menu in your menu bar. You’ll be presented with an “Additional Settings” window with a whole slew of options. Just turn on the “Remember file dialog sizes” checkbox and then click OK.
With this enabled, Default Folder X will resize every file dialog after it opens. It’s a bit ugly, as the dialog can only be resized after it shows up on screen (so you’ll see an almost comical “here you go… oh wait, let me make that bigger… ok, how’s that?” dance) but it gets the job done. And that ugliness is why the checkbox isn’t part of DFX’s regular preferences – it’s only meant to be used when things have really gone sideways and you have no other choice. Like in Big Sur 11.1 🙄
Note that the current Default Folder X release doesn’t resize the sidebar after it fixes the dialog size (cuz macOS was supposed to take care of that, too). You can grab this pre-release build of Default Folder X 5.5.4, which takes care of the sidebar as well:
So a cool new feature introduced in Default Folder X 5.5 wasn’t so cool for some folks. While it’s really handy to have the Recent Files menu show files that are synced from other devices via iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc, there are situations where it just gets in the way.
For example, if you share Dropbox folders with a bunch of coworkers, every time one of them changes a file, it shows up in your Recent Files menu. And the file’s enclosing folder is added to the Recent Folders menu. Pretty soon, your menus are full of everyone else’s files, many of which you may not even care about.
So yeah – it’s a great feature if you’re just using a cloud service for your own stuff. But if you’re collaborating with a team, maybe not. So in Default Folder X 5.5.3 you can turn the feature off – right here:
On the other hand, if you like the feature and leave it turned on, this new release handles iCloud files and folders more intelligently. It ignores changes some apps make to hidden files that you’re not supposed to see, and also makes sure that changes in iCloud Documents and Desktop folders show up as they should.
There are also several bug fixes, one of which is very important for Big Sur users. It corrects a problem that could cause Open and Save As dialogs to stall and just sit there – sometimes for quite a while. Make sure you update to 5.5.3 to avoid this!
Version 5.5.2 of Default Folder X is available. It works on Apple’s recent macOS 11.1 Big Sur beta release.
Amusingly, the biggest problem on macOS 11.1 was the new version numbering scheme that Apple is using for Big Sur. Default Folder X checks the OS version and had always assumed that if the minor revision number (the ’15’ in 10.15.7, for example) changed, it was a major new OS release, because that’s the way it’s always been in the past. Big releases like going from Mojave (10.14) to Catalina (10.15) generally require significant testing and development to ensure compatibility, so it just disables itself and waits for me to finish a compatibility update.
So when Apple went from Big Sur 11.0.1 to Big Sur 11.1 beta (with a version number change that surprised a lot of us developers), Default Folder X said “Oh no, it’s a major OS release! I don’t know what to do, so I’ll just be safe and do nothing” and refused to even look at the Open and Save dialogs. So yeah, redoing the OS-version-checking logic and making a minor functional tweak was all that was actually necessary to get things working on 11.1.
In the process of testing Default Folder X on the Big Sur 11.1 beta, I did find a bug that could potentially cause file dialogs to lock up for what seems like an eternity (potentially as much as 2 minutes), so that’s also fixed in 5.5.2. Because of that, you should update if you’re running Big Sur, even if you’re not using 11.1.
TL;DR: There was a bug in Default Folder X 5.5 that resulted in it failing to launch correctly. Version 5.5.1 delivers a fix. If you’ve been affected and are having trouble updating to version 5.5.1, read on.
What Happened: First, my apologies. Default Folder X 5.5 introduced a new feature that tracks changes to files and folders synced via the cloud. Part of the startup process is to look at your current cloud settings to determine which folders need to be watched. In the case of Google Drive File Stream, Default Folder X didn’t properly read old settings files, resulting in the launch process being disrupted and leaving it running, but with no user interface (no icon in the menu bar, no toolbar in Open and Save dialogs, etc). This also breaks the auto-update mechanism, so you have to update to version 5.5.1 manually.
So yeah, big oops. In retrospect, I should have coded that even more defensively than I did so that the error would have been caught. I’m sorry.
How to Fix It: If you’ve been bitten by this bug, you have to manually download and install Default Folder X 5.5.1. Ostensibly, that’s not hard – just download 5.5.1 5.5.3 from this link:
Once the download completes, double-click on the .dmg file and drag the Default Folder X app to your Applications folder.
Now here’s the rub: If you ran the old, broken version 5.5, you may get an error message saying that you can’t replace it.
It’s still invisibly running, but there’s no clear way to quit it. The regular macOS “Force Quit” procedure – accessed by pressing Command-Option-Esc on your keyboard – won’t show Default Folder X even though it’s running. Here’s what to do instead:
1. Run Activity Monitor. It’s located in /Applications/Utilities.
2. Use the search field in Activity Monitor’s toolbar to locate Default Folder X in the process list.
3. Click on the (x) icon in Activity Monitor’s toolbar.
4. Choose Force Quit when prompted.
Now you’ll be able to drag the new copy of Default Folder X 5.5.3 to your Applications folder. Once it’s there, just open your Applications folder and double-click Default Folder X to launch it.