While it’s been slow going, I’ve gotten a few new features put together in the ongoing development of version 6 of Default Folder X. I’m sharing two here because I’m very happy to have gotten them up and running, as I personally find them really useful.
Expanded Filename Editing Field
It seems like such a minor thing, but when you’re saving something like a web page that has a long name, it’s maddening that Save As dialogs have such a tiny edit box for the filename. The long name runs past the end of the edit field and you have to click and drag or use the arrow keys to get to the rest of it if you want to make any changes.
While it required way more juggling than I expected, Default Folder X 6 expands the filename field to a usable size.
Keyboard-based Access to Recent and Favorite Items
I’m personally a very keyboard-biased user. I’d rather use shortcuts and type than take my hand off the keyboard to click around with the mouse. As a result, Default Folder X has always had the ability to assign keyboard shortcuts to Favorites and to access recently used items. Up until now, however, that didn’t include just typing to select exactly what you wanted. In version 6, that’ll be an option:
I’ve used a “Sublime Text-style” selection method, where fuzzy matching gives you results that include file, folder and application names that contain the letters you’ve typed, even if there are some missing in between. It also favors capital letters and the first letters of words.
You’ll see that the top match in the image above when typing “roc” is “ReactiveObjC” because of the capitalized R, O and C in the correct order, with “ProcessController.m” further down the list even though it contains “roc” in lowercase. I’m still tweaking this, but I find the results pretty quick and intuitive when looking for something (though granted, the results lower down in the list tend to appear almost random until you look hard at them).
As a developer, the danger I see with this feature is that people will want me to reproduce all kinds of options from similar keyboard-based utilities like LaunchBar and Alfred and I’m not sure how far to go with that. This isn’t meant to replace those (I’m a long-time LaunchBar user myself), but some additional tweaks could be nice…
If you want to help test…
While these (and other) features are still in development and thus a bit rough around the edges, I’d welcome input if you’ve got some time to try them out and provide thoughtful feedback. Email DefaultFolderX@stclairsoft.com if you’re interested.
Default Folder X 5.6b4 is now available. It’s a public beta release that adds compatibility with Apple’s latest macOS 12 Monterey betas, but also fixes issues on earlier versions of macOS as well.
The most important change is for users of 5.6b3, the previous beta release. That version would hang for 10 seconds or more (sometimes a lot more) after you resized a file dialog. That’s fixed in b4.
Other changes include a fix for instances where a top-level folder in Google Drive would get its “hidden” flag set by a bug (or feature?) in Google Drive, resulting in Default Folder X hiding folders or files within that folder in the Recent Folders and Recent Files history. Now Default Folder X just ignores that hidden flag. And I’ve added support for the Mac App Store version of PDF Studio Pro, an app DFX was refusing to enhance because it’s written in Java, and Java apps can sometimes crash because they don’t properly support the macOS Accessibility API.
As always, details and download links are on the Default Folder X Testing page. Note that the change history there includes a list of all the changes made since the last full release (version 5.5.9), if you haven’t been keeping up with previous beta releases.
It also fixes an issue that prevented Default Folder X from showing recent files and folders in your Dropbox folder if you turned on Dropbox’s syncing of your Documents and Desktop folders. In that configuration, Dropbox syncs your Documents and Desktop folders to a hidden folder within your Dropbox folder. Default Folder X, being the good citizen that it is, saw that hidden folder and said to itself “oh, if you’re putting files and folders into a hidden folder, you probably don’t want them shown in your Recent Files and Recent Folders menus,” and acted accordingly. Now Default Folder X will ignore the fact that that folder is hidden, showing those recent files and folders in its menus.
This beta build also enables DFX in the Flying Logic app and fixes a glitch in the way VoiceOver reads the path menu in Open and Save dialogs.
It’s June, which means Apple has begun rolling out test builds of the next version of macOS, dubbed macOS 12 Monterey. And that means we’ve got a public beta version of Default Folder X available, bringing Default Folder X’s file and folder organization chops to the new OS.
And if you’re not running Monterey yet, version 5.6b1 still addresses some issues with Affinity Designer and other Affinity apps, Photoshop’s “Export As” dialog, and Google Drive.
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.