Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Move Items Contextual Menu for Snow Leopard

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Contextual menu plugins are dead in Snow Leopard, replaced by the revamped Services system.  A user recently contacted me because he wanted to replicate the “Move Items” contextual menu item he used to use in Leopard.  He had used Automator to create a service, but was having a few problems, namely that Default Folder X wasn’t available when he chose the destination folder.

This got me to open up Automator in Snow Leopard and take a crack at it myself.  In the process, I was reminded how cool Automator is 🙂  At any rate, here’s the automator script I put together:

So you’re obviously asking: Why go to the trouble of creating variables instead of just using the “Move Finder Items” action by itself?  I’m glad you asked!  The reason is that I want to bring up a file dialog to specify the folder where I want the items to go.  There’s not a clean way to have the “Move Finder Items” do that every time.  You can change its options to “Show this action when the workflow runs” but you still have to click on it every time you use it to ask it to show a file dialog.  If you use Default Folder X to enhance your Open dialogs, it’s faster to just have the dialog pop up and then go where you want to with DFX.

So in the image above, the workflow puts the current Finder selection into the “selection” variable.  Then it uses AppleScript to bring up a file dialog to ask for a folder, which it stores in the “path” variable.  And finally, it uses the Move Finder Items action to do the work.  Not too much more complicated, and it speeds up your workflow considerably if you’ve already got DFX installed so the Open dialogs are smart.

For you automator programmers, note that some of the actions shown in the workflow do not take inputs.  I did this by control-clicking on the action (“Get Value of Variable”, for example) and choosing “Ignore Input” from the contextual menu.  If you don’t do this, Automator will actually add the input from the previous step to the next one, which is definitely not what you want in this case.

Oh, and if you just want the automator workflow file so you can add it to your own system, you can download it here:

http://www.stclairsoft.com/download/MoveItems.zip

If you need more help with Automator and Services, Apple has some good information and tutorials here:

http://www.macosxautomation.com/services/learn/

(Once you’ve gotten through the first few steps of the tutorial, you should be able to just replicate the picture above to make the Move Items service yourself).

New Default Folder X Screencast

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

I’ve added a new Overview screencast to the screencasts page.  I kept it focused on the efficiency side of Default Folder X, so it doesn’t highlight all of the features. I felt it was important to get the primary point across and not get lost in the details.


Screencast: Default Folder X Previews

Default Folder X Overview
(QuickTime video – 3:18)

I’m interested to hear your opinions – particularly whether the focus is right (getting to your files vs.  details like rebound, tagging, etc).

Enabling DFX’s new menu previews in file dialogs

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I’ve received a number of emails asking why the new file previews only work in Default Folder X’s system menu, and not in its menus in the Open and Save dialogs.  This is because Default Folder X normally doesn’t display files in its file dialog menus — those menus are used for navigating among folders.

You can, however, change this using a hidden setting.  Here’s how:

  1. Open System Preferences and select Default Folder X.
  2. Option-click on the “Settings” button.
  3. Turn on the “AlwaysShowFilesInMenus” checkbox.
  4. Click OK and quit System Preferences.
  5. The menus that Default Folder X places next to Open and Save dialogs should now show previews like this.

Note: With this setting turned on, Default Folder X will show all the files in each folder, regardless of whether the current application can open them or not.  If you select a file that the application can open, DFX will take you to the folder containing the file and select it in the file dialog.  If the application can’t open the file, you’ll be switched to the file’s folder, but nothing will be selected.

DFX Secret Settings

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Updated 3/29/2010 to include all of the latest settings.

So yeah – someone wrote to ask for a feature and I realized that there’s no documentation for the “secret settings” in Default Folder X.  Open System Preferences, click on Default Folder X, then hold down the option key and click on the Settings button.

Here’s the quick run-down:

  1. OpenFinderWindowsInColumnView:  Does what it says.  When DFX opens a folder for you in the Finder, the window will be in column view.
  2. OpenInFrontFinderWindow:  When DFX opens a folder in the Finder, it uses the frontmost Finder window instead of creating a new window.
  3. ReboundWhenChoosingFolders: Some apps use Open dialogs that allow you to select files or folders.  By default, DFX doesn’t do its “rebound” feature in these dialogs because it can cause the current folder to change if you’re using column view.  This switch makes it rebound anyway.
  4. MenusUseSmallFonts: For people with good eyes.
  5. HidePreviews: The OS X-supplied previews in column view in some apps (Photoshop) are really slow for large files.  This turns them off.
  6. HotkeysForRecentFolders: Option-up-arrow and option-down-arrow open windows in the Finder to show your  recently used folders.
  7. QuitWithoutConfirmation: Quitting DFX won’t bring up the “Are you sure?” alert.
  8. ShowHiddenFinderWindows: Makes Finder-click work even when the Finder is hidden.
  9. DisableContextualMenu: Turns off DFX’s contextual menus in Open and Save dialogs.
  10. ExportAndPrintToDocumentFolder: There’s a setting in DFX called “Make save dialogs automatically default to the current document’s folder.”  Normally it (intentionally) doesn’t work when you print to PDF files or export a file – this setting makes it work in Print to PDF and Export dialogs too.
  11. AlwaysShowFilesInMenus: Usually the menus that DFX displays next to file dialogs only show folders in them.  Turning on this option will make the menus display the files within those folders too.  Selecting a file will switch the file dialog to the folder that contains the file and select the file.
  12. OpenActiveFolderSet: Turn this on and DFX will open all Favorites in a folder set in the Finder whenever you change folder sets.
  13. ToolbarOnLeft: Displays the toolbar on the left side of Open and Save As dialogs instead of on the right.
  14. DisableOpenMetaUpgrade: Turn off the built-in code that upgrades old OpenMeta spotlight tags.  See the blog post about this.

So, there’s a few more little bits for Default Folder X.  Enjoy!