Navigating iTunes' Cover Flow view

Here’s a very simple tip for you iTunes Cover Flow (View -> Cover Flow View) addicts. You probably know you can flip through your album covers by dragging the scroll bar below the covers to the left or right; that’s the obvious way to navigate your collection. However, you may not have known about these two alternative methods of browsing your collection:

  • Type some characters: First make sure that iTunes browsing panel is active by clicking on any song in the library or playlist. Once you’ve done that, you can type a few letters, and Cover Flow will jump to the matching CD in your collection. But what defines a match? Matching is based on the sort order of your library or playlist.

    For example, if I’m viewing my library and click on the Album column, then type
    no c
    , Cover Flow jumps to No Code by Pearl Jam. If I sort on Artist instead, those same characters jump to No Doubt. Sort by name and type the same thing and I jump to No Ending by Delays. This is a very efficient way to move around in Cover Flow view. But it’s not nearly as much fun as the next method.
  • Use your mouse’s scroll wheel: Just give your scroll wheel a spin, and watch the covers go flying by. If you use a third-party mouse, you might have to use its configuration software to slow down your scroll rate—on my Microsoft mouse, if I had the scroll speed set anything above the lowest setting, I couldn’t scroll slowly enough to move cover-by-cover in iTunes. I’ve had no such issues with the Mighty Mouse on my other machine, however. And if you’re using a laptop that supports two-finger scrolling, give it a try. It’s a really easy way to browse through Cover Flow; just drag your fingers across (or down; doesn’t matter which) your trackpad, and watch the covers go gliding by.

Between the scroll bar, typing, and (my favorite) using your scroll wheel, there are a number of ways to move around in Cover Flow view mode.

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