6 Coolest Features of Cocoatech's Path Finder OS X App

I've been using Cocoatech's Path Finder since it was launched in the same year as [Mac] OS X. It's so good, I've rarely ever used the OS X Finder over the years. Here's what I like about Path Finder the most.


The Finder in OS X is a good app, and it keeps getting better. However, over the years, I found that Cocoatech's Path Finder, a fully capable Finder replacement, has more power, is more convenient and more fun to use. It's a powerhouse app that I'm grateful for and couldn't live without.

This isn't a formal review, so the plan isn't to list every notable feature. Instead, I want to cover my favorite features, amongst the many available, that I've used over the years. For a more comprehensive overview, see the Cocoatech product page. It's the best $40, along with upgrades, that I've ever spent.

1. Drop Stack. Sometimes one needs a parking space, a place to put a bunch of files, perhaps from different locations, that have the same destination. With Drop Stack, I just drag a file to the holding spot, then drag the multi-file icon to the destination. I use this feature all the time in my TMO workflow.

2. Multiple Shelves. This is an awesome feature of Path Finder. Shown below, I have shelves open at the bottom of the main list browser, and each shelf (for simplicity here) can contain multiple modules. That's controlled by the popup triangles (in red circles).  In Figure 1,  I have selected (from many module options) "info" on the left and "preview" on the right. This helps a lot when I'm preparing an image for publication. Note the file size in pixels on the upper right of the image preview. There is more capability here, including shelves on the right and left, an embedded terminal module and more, but you get the idea.

Figure 1. Shelves and glorious alternate row color.

3. Fully customizable alternate row colors. View > Show View Options > Set Colors > Alternate Row color. The OS X Finder, in list view, so far as I know, we're stuck with alternating white and pale gray. Not so in Path Finder. I really like a pale green or blue for my alternating row colors, and it boggle's the mind why Apple has never added this feature to the Finder. See Figure 1 above.

4. Instant Text File Creation. File > New Text File. I use this often when I'm working on a review, and I want to create a quick text file of notes. Since I have Yosemite set, by default, to open all .txt files with BBEdit, it's later double-clickable with that app.

5. Smart Sorting. In list view, the OS X Finder sorts folders and files alphabetically. They're all treated the same. But when I have some often used folders that I want collected together, Path Finder will collect all the folders sorted as I like, and then all the remaining files are listed. Smart Sorting is in the view options (CMD-J) that I show below along side one of my browser windows.

Figure 2. View options shown next to browser window.

6. Archive. In the Commands menu, Path Finder has generous options for archiving (and de-archiving) files as shown in Figure 3 below. In earlier times, I used these options to save space. However, it's not so necessary nowadays. What is nice is the ability to compress a file and password protect it for later email transmission. What options! Geek heaven.

Figure 3. All the geeky compression options one could want.

Path Finder has so many customization options, it's easy to get lost. It can be a full time project just learning its nomenclature and options, so one has to be patient and methodical. Especially in light of the fact that there is no formal PDF manual. However, the payoff in productivity has been huge for me as I've learned to exploit it over the years. It's a mission critical app for my work.