As you’re probably well aware, the Finder’s View Options dialog (View -> Show View Options, or Command-J) in OS X 10.5 is the key to customizing your folder views. Using this dialog, you can enable and disable a number of features for each folder on your system. The options available (and what they do) vary based on your view—in column view mode, for instance, there aren’t a lot of options you can set, and whatever changes you make are reflected in all column view windows. In list, icon, and Cover Flow view modes, however, you have a plethora of options, and those settings can vary by window.
So what do you do when you’ve gone and customized a folder with the view you think you’d like to use…and then decide that, really, you don’t like that particular setup at all? You could, of course, go through and reverse each change you’d made, but that’s time consuming. For all but column view windows (because every change you make to their view options is global), here’s an easier solution…just hold down the Option key with the View Options window open. When you do, you’ll see the button labeled Use as Defaults change to Restore to Defaults. (As best as I can recall, this only works in 10.5.)
Click the button, and marvel at the instantaneous return of your folder to your default settings for that view type. Sometimes the simple tricks really are the best!