Show Folder Size in Mac OS X

Written by Kevin

Set your Finder to display the size of folders and their contents for a specific folder or for all folders on your system.

If this feature wasn’t such a resource hog I would love to have it enabled by default, but the standard Mac OS X list view setting is set to not display the size of folders and their contents. This is easily fixable by performing the following steps:

  • You must first make sure to select the list view from the Finder window.
  • Then open “View Options” from the View menu (or you can hit Command+J)
  • Then select the check box next to “Calculate all sizes”

Now when you open any directory in list view, you’ll see the size of directories and their respective contents. This also works with Cover Flow view, but must be set separately through ‘View Options’.

A few people have asked us in the comments below how they apply this setting for ALL folders they view in Finder rather than having to do this for each folder.

Select the settings in the ‘View Options’ menu of any folder and then click on ‘Use as Defaults’ at the very bottom of the window. You can see it circled in the image to the right.

This will set the default view options for every folder on your machine. To revert back to your previous settings just unselect ‘Calculate all sizes’ and click ‘Use as Defaults’ once more.

Let it be known that having it set to ‘Calculate all sizes’ of every folder will in fact increase your disk activity as it will need to gather that information upon opening Finder each time.


About the author


Kevin is the Founder and Senior Editor of Tech Heavy. When he isn't writing about the latest tech tools he spends his days working in an IT department in Dubuque, IA. @kevincray


  • i tried this but it only does it for the folder i have highlighted, is there a way to do this for all of my folders within Mac OS X?

  • Sam- Yes! Just click ‘Use as Defaults”, I will update the post with more information on your request.

  • My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • I am having an issue with Lion Server, and the new Raid 1 option (1 TB instead 2 500MB discs) After I did that change on the Discs, the folder size calc. it is not working properly, for example, it says folder “Images” = 330kb, when in reality it has 1.2GB inside. Do you know what I can do in order to recalculate the size of the folders correctly?

    Thx in advance.

  • Sorry, It needed a restart to recalculate again, and now is working properly again.


  • I agree with most of the other commentators, thanks for this helpful post! I have struggled with trying to figure out how to easily see the size of my files in Lion since the 1st day I brought home my Mid-2011 Mac Mini. So, this clear & precise post is exactly what I needed to find!

    However, I do find it interesting that I don’t seem to have the option to click on “Calculate disk size” in my view window. Instead, that option is greyed out. I only seem to be able to add the “size” tab my configuration window. Is there anything I can do in order to enable the “calculate file size”?

    Other than this little caveat, this has still been a post which has proven to be quite helpful 🙂 I’m going to add this blog to my list of faves & check back for your great suggestions. Thanks.

  • When I go to ‘Show View Options’ Calculate view options is not available for me to tick? Why? Please help