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Mac 101: Preview Media with Column View

Finder's column view doesn't seem to be a big favorite among switchers, which is a shame. Switchers tend to prefer using icon views or lists but column view offers a huge win over these other when working with media, allowing you to preview your media directly in Finder. To switch to column view, choose View -> as Columns or just press Command-3. Finder changes over to this view which shows a tree-like structure of your disk.

Not only do you see the contents of your current folder, but you can see other folders higher up the directory tree. And here's the good part: when you select an image, audio or video file, you can preview its contents directly in the Finder window. Select any media file and Finder shows you its name, kind, size and other file information. It shows you the contents of the file as well.

If it's a picture, you see a small version of the image. If it's sound or video, a QuickTime-style player appears and you can play it back directly in Finder. Got a lot of pictures or other media to sort through? Use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through your files. Finder will update the preview to reflect your current selection until you find the file you were looking for.

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