Customize Your Mac OS X Finder

Written by Kevin

Learn how to make a few custom tweaks to your Mac finder window.

Some of these may be obvious customizations to advanced Mac users but most newbie’s don’t know that you can customize certain aspects of the Mac Finder, so here are a few tips:


Adding to the Sidebar

The Finder has a sidebar window which you can completely control. You can add any folders you want or you can remove the current ones. All you must do is select a folder and pressing Command+T on your keyboard or you can drag a folder into the ‘Places’ section of your sidebar like the image below shows:

Adding folders you use frequently to this sidebar can make your work much easier and can also help free up space on your desktop or dock. In order to remove a folder from the sidebar you can either hold down the Command key then drag the folder out or you can right click on the folder and select the option ‘Remove from Sidebar.’

Adding to the Toolbar

This is very similar to the above trick, you can just drag the file or folder to the Finder toolbar and it will be accessible in every finder window that you open.

Right clicking on the icon once it is on the toolbar will give you more options on how to customize the size of the icon as well as if you would like to display the icon text as well.

To remove an icon from this toolbar hold down the command key and drag the icon off of the toolbar.

Customize Finder Background

While I can’t see much of a productivity gain from this next tip it is still worth mentioning. Mac OS X allows us to customize the background of your Finder window by either selecting an image from your computer or selecting a solid color.

In order to change the background of a Finder window, first open up Finder and press Command+J on your keyboard or navigate from to the ‘View’ menu and select ‘Show View Options.’ From within ‘View Options’ you can select ‘Color’ or ‘Picture’ near the bottom.

After selecting the background you want you also have the option to make this your default color/picture for EVERY Finder window, simply click on ‘Set as Default’ to apply this globally.

Removing the background customization is as easy as putting it on, just open ‘View Options’ again and select the ‘White’ background, which is the OS default.

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


  • Ooh, I didn’t know that you could adjust the colours for the Finder function. That’s really funky!

  • Its great to find a step-by-step beginners guide to adjusting the finder. Many other tech sites have tutorials practically written in a different language. I’m glad I finally found a site that I can count on. Thanks 🙂

  • I tried to remove an image I set in the finder options but in Mac OS X Lion all the options are grayed out but I can see an option to add another image. Is there a way to remove it in Lion?