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Display the Facts on Files and Folders on Your MacBook

The Finder’s Info dialog is the place on your MacBook to view the specifics on any highlighted item (including drives and aliases). Select an item and press Command+I, click the Action toolbar button and then select Get Info from the menu, right-click and choose Get Info, or choose the Finder’s File menu and then choose Get Info.

If you select more than one item (up to ten items), Lion opens a separate Info dialog for each item.

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You can also show an Info dialog that summarizes multiple items — this is A Good Thing if you need to see the total size for several files or folders. To display the Summary Info dialog, select the desired items, hold down the Control key, and click File→Get Summary Info.

(Yep, in case you were wondering, some of the items on the File menu do change when you hold down Control. Display the File menu and try it yourself!)

There’s yet another species of the Info dialog: The Inspector dialog displays the same data as the Info dialog, but it’s automatically updated when you click a different file or folder! (A great convenience if you’re checking the information on a number of separate items in different locations on your MacBook.)

To display the Inspector dialog, press Command+Option+I.

Mac OS X displays the General information panel when you first open the Info dialog, but other panels are usually available (depending on the type of selected items).

For most types of files and folders, the Info dialog can tell you

  • Kind: What type of item it is — for example, whether it’s a file, folder, drive, or alias

  • Open with: What program launches automatically when you open the selected item

  • Size: The total size of the item (or items, if there are more than ten) that you select

  • Where: The actual path on your hard drive where the item is located

  • Dates: The date when the item was created and was last modified

  • Version: The application version number

  • Name & Extension: The file’s name and extension

  • Sharing & Permissions: The privileges that control who can do what to the file and whether a file is locked in read-only mode

Some of this information you can change, and some you can only display. To banish the Info dialog from your Desktop, click the dialog’s Close button.

You can hide or display various parts of the Info dialog by clicking the triangles next to each section heading.

If you use a specific document over and over as a basis for different revisions, you can enable the Stationery Pad check box on the General information panel to use the file as stationery. Opening a stationery file automatically creates a new, untitled version of the file in the linked application.

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