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Contextual Moves

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Over on the Macworld forums, I’ve recently seen a number of requests for the ability to move files and folders via contextual menus. A number of these requests have come from “switchers”—people who have switched to the Mac from Windows, which has had such functionality for a while—but even a few lifelong Mac users have wished for this feature.

Although Tiger doesn’t bring such an improvement, you can get it via Naratt’s $15 Move Items X 1.5.6 (   ), which provides the ability to move items, make copies of items, or just make aliases of items—all from the comfort of the Finder’s contextual menus. (Move Items X is actually comprised of three different contextual menu plugins: Move Items, Make Alias, and Make Copy. You can choose to install all three, or just the one or two you prefer.)

With Move Items X installed, Control-clicking (or right-clicking, if you’ve got a multi-button mouse) on a file, folder, or multiple items in the Finder provides several additional options at the bottom of the resulting contextual menu: Make Alias In, Make Copy In, and Move Item To. Each is actually a hierarchical menu, in which you can find a list of useful locations: mounted volumes, your Home directory, and your Favorites and Applications folders. You can also browse the parent folders of the current folder, or any folders you’ve recently accessed via Move Items X. These hierarchical menus allow you to quickly navigate to any location on your Mac; by choosing a folder in one of these menus, the item you’ve selected will be copied to, moved to, or aliased in that folder (depending, of course, on which Move Items X command you chose). There are also two other useful items: To New Folder and Via Bluetooth. The former is useful for creating a new folder on the fly and then moving the selected item(s) to it. The latter attempts—assuming your Mac is equipped with Bluetooth—to send the selected item(s) to a Bluetooth device via OS X’s Bluetooth File Exchange utility.

Move Items X menu

The Favorites item is my favorite, as I place aliases of my most common destinations inside ~/Library/Favorites—I can then quickly file documents into those folders via “Move Item To: Favorites: folder name .”

Via Move Item X’s preferences, you can opt to have the destination folder opened in the Finder after the move/copy/alias action is completed; view documents inside folders (so you can see if a file already exists in the destination folder); and choose which types of directories—volumes, Home, Applications, etc.—appear in Move Items X’s menus. You can also modify the appearances of item names and icons.

Chances are, these features alone will be enough to satisfy most people. But Move Items X includes an array of additional options for more advanced users. For example, you can choose to show invisible folders in Move Item X’s menus. And developers will appreciate the ability to have bundles/packages appear as folders, making it easy to modify the contents of those packages.

Move Items X is also useful for quickly “cleaning up” a folder (such as the Desktop). By selecting a bunch of files and then choosing “Move Items To: To New Folder: Create Default Location,” a new folder is created in the same location as those files, and the files are then moved into it. Via Move Items X’s preferences dialog, you can even choose to have the new folder automatically named with the current date and time.

One significant limitation of Move Items X is that you cannot move items between volumes —you can only copy the items or make aliases of them. Just as dragging an item from one volume to another in the Finder results in the Finder copying those items rather than moving them, using Move Item X’s Move command between volumes results in a copy. Although this is a Finder issue, it seems feasible for the developer to work around it by copying the item and then deleting the original.

That quirk aside, if you’ve been looking for a Mac OS X version of Window’s “Send to” menu for filing files, you’ll like Move Items X.

Move Items X is compatible with both Tiger and Panther.

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