Access the File Inspector on Mac with Command-Option-i

Jan 4, 2010 - 4 Comments

Finder icon on the Mac

Did you know the Mac has a little file inspector tool that can be used in the Finder for quickly getting information about files, folders, and anything else selected in a Finder window?

The File Inspector is basically a dynamic “Get Info” window on the Mac, as it adjusts depending on what you select in the Finder of Mac OS. This is very useful for so many reasons, but particularly if you frequently use the “Get Info” command in Mac Finder to reveal details about finder items.

How to Access the File Inspector in Mac Finder

To access the File Inspector in the Mac Finder, with it’s Quick Look style version of the Get Info command, simply start by highlighting any file or folder in the Finder.

Then, with a file or folder selected in Finder, hitting the Command+Option+i keys in combination to reveal the Get Info File Inspector tool.

file inspector mac

The initial data is the same as what you see in the standard Get Info command (which has the Command + i keystroke in Finder), but the exciting part is what happens when you click on another Finder item: the File Inspector changes the data shown to represent the newly selected file or folder, without having to open a new Get Info window!

This is very useful with navigating the Finder with a mouse, keyboard, trackpad, or however else, because it allows you to select other files and folders and pull up data about them upon click / selection rather than opening another Get Info window for each individual file. If you’re trying to check out information about many different files or folders, you’ll quickly see why this is so helpful.

This tool behaves very much like Quick Look previews in Mac OS, and the window will close if you select the desktop rather than an icon, file, or folder, or it loses the focus.

Note: another way to access the File Inspector is by holding down the Option key and right-clicking on an icon, in place of “Get Info” will be “Show Inspector.”

Very useful, try it out! This great feature exists in just about every version of Mac OS X to ever exist, so try it out yourself, see how great it is, make it part of your workflow, and enjoy the utility of such a delightful feature of the Mac Finder.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

4 Comments

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  1. Alberto says:

    This tip is soooo cool ;-)

    Happy new year

  2. Tom says:

    i think just command+ i does it

  3. Daniel says:

    In fact Cmd+I is enough…

    What should be an interesting tip is the way to close all the File Inspectors when you have -by mistake- open many of them all together.

    If you know the answer…

    Cheers

  4. William says:

    Tom and Daniel, what you two are talking about are Get Info windows. The Inspector Window is different and I believe it is a holdover from the NeXT era. IIRC in the OS X beta releases, the Inspector was present but Get Info windows had yet to appear.

    The diffrence is that you can have as many get info windows open at one time as you want. There is only one Inspector window and it’s contents change as you select different items in the finder.

    Contrary to the article, the Inspector window does not close unless you tell it to by either clicking on the red close button or by pressing the usual window closing key combination, Cmd-W, when it is the active window. Even clicking the Desktop doesn’t make it close. Instead, it gives you information about the Desktop.

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