Use a spring-loaded Path Bar in 10.5's Finder

Amongst the hundreds of new OS X 10.5 features is the Finder’s Path Bar, which I covered in this Macworld video blog a while back. Basically, the Path Bar is like a trail of breadcrumbs to help you navigate today’s immense hard drives. Once enabled (View -> Show Path Bar), it resides at the bottom of each Finder window, displaying the full path to the currently-displayed folder. As noted in the video, you can control-click on any item in the Path Bar, and use the resulting contextual menu to open it, open its enclosing folder.

One thing you can’t do with the Path Bar is spring open a new Finder window by dragging an object over the Path Bar, hovering, and pressing the Space Bar—as you may wish to do when moving a file, for instance. This isn’t really a huge shortcoming, though, as you can easily do that with any object in the sidebar. Once the new window opens, you can then drag-navigate to your desired destination and drop the file there.

As it turns out, there actually is a way to make the Finder’s Path Bar spring loaded—at least in one particular situation. When you use Spotlight to find Files, the Path Bar shows up in the results window, just as with any other Finder window. But things are not quite as identical as they seem. In the Spotlight results window, the Path Bar is spring loaded. So if you ever want to move any files or folders you’ve found with Spotlight, you can use this to possibly save a bit of time when moving your found files.

For example, let’s say you’ve got a folder called Clients, and within that, a folder for each client you work with. You realize you misfiled a number of documents for a certain client. Using Spotlight, you locate those files, then select them all. Drag them over the Clients folder on the Path Bar, press the Space Bar, and presto, a new Finder window opens. Now just drag the files into the proper folder at the top-level of the Clients folder, and you’re done.

Perhaps not the world’s most explosive hint, but a good one to keep tucked away in the memory banks—and proof that even when two windows look nearly identical, they may not be so under the surface. (In this case, the different behavior is most likely due to the fact that Spotlight results are presented in a Cocoa API window, while regular Finder windows are created with the Carbon API.)

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