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Daily App: FilePane is a versatile multi-tool utility for OS X file management

FilePan

FilePane is handy Mac utility that simplifies the sometimes cumbersome task of managing your files. It's lightweight, sits in the menu bar and provides quick access to a variety of tasks such as resize image, convert text to PDF and more.

FilePane Menu Bar

FilePane sits quietly in the menu bar and activates whenever you select a file (or files) and drag them across your screen. When you start the dragging process, a small box appears that prompts you to "Drop Here." When you drop you files in this hot zone, a small dialog appears with a variety of options depending on the file type you have selected.

FilePane Drop Here

The available options for each file(s) appear as icons, which makes it difficult when you start using the app. Most are self-explanatory, but I did find myself having the consult the cheat sheet provided with the app. You can find this icon list by opening the app in the menu bar and clicking on the question mark.

FilePane Icons

The app supports images, text documents, multiple files and folders and provides with the following choices:

  • show file size
  • copy file path to clipboard
  • move file
  • email file
  • AirDrop file
  • resize image on the fly (images only)
  • set as Desktop picture (images only)
  • share on Twitter/Facebook (images only)
  • convert it to PDF (text documents only)
  • print (text documents only)
  • and more

Once you have identified the appropriate action for your file, you can then select it and follow the prompts to complete it. For example, I often drag an image file and choose to resize it. The app allows me to enter in the dimensions and provides an option to make it proportionate, which is useful if I want an image that is 600 pixels wide and an appropriately scaled height.

File Pane Resize Image

FilePane is reliable -- it hasn't crashed nor affected the performance of my Mac because it is so lightweight. It works in other apps and it is not constrained to only the Finder, though that is where it is most useful. It also works in web browsers and document editors, allowing you to perform actions on the text and images that you select and drag.

My only critique of FilePane is the duration of the "Drop Here" window can be frustratingly short when you are working in a large Finder window that is filled with files. Sometimes I would drag a set of files, pause for a second or two and the "Drop Here" window would disappear. I found that I had the files with the purpose of dropping them on the hot zone and had to drag with minimal pause.

I believe this timed disappearance is a feature, allowing the hot zone to disappear quickly when you are dragging for reasons other than to activate FilePane. For example, I did notice that the FilePane drop zone activated I was managing my emails in a web browser. Every time I dragged an email to a folder, the "Drop Here" box appeared and then disappeared fast enough that it did not get in the way.

FilePane is useful for OS X owners who want a quick and versatile method of accessing the most common actions for a file. It offers a variety of options that are different from those available when you right click on a file and is extremely easy to use.

FilePane is available from the Mac App Store for US$4.99.

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