On your MacBook, you can make changes to view options in any Finder window displaying items in column view mode. Choose View→Show View Options to display the View Options dialog.

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Any changes that you make to this dialog are always reflected in every column view:

  • Always Open in Column View: If this check box is selected, all Finder windows open in column view. (If deselected, new windows use the last view mode you used.)

  • Browse in Column View: Select this check box, and Lion uses the current folder’s view settings as you browse through subfolders (no matter what the view settings are for those subfolders).

  • Arrange By: Click this pop-up menu to automatically separate items, sorted by one of the following criteria from its pop-up menu: by name; kind (item type); application (the default application that opens each file type); date last opened; date added; date modified; date created; size; or the icon label you’ve assigned.

  • Sort By: If the Arrange By pop-up menu is set to None, click this pop-up menu to automatically sort the display of icons in a window by choosing one of the following criteria: by name; kind (item type); application (the default application that opens each file type); date last opened; date added; date modified; date created; size; or icon label.

  • Resizing icon label text: Click the Text Size pop-up menu to choose the font size (in points) for icon labels.

  • Show Icons: Select this check box to display icons in the columns. If this option is deselected, the icons don’t appear and you’ll gain a little space.

  • Show icon preview: Click this check box to select it, and Lion displays preview icons for image files — taking a little extra time to perform this service, naturally.

    (As you find out in the next bullet, column mode can be set to automatically display a preview thumbnail in the last column when you click an image or video file, and even some documents to boot . . . . Therefore, the usefulness of tiny icon previews in column mode may be limited for you.)

  • Show Preview Column: If this check box is selected, clicking a file in column mode displays a thumbnail (reduced image) and preview information in the right-most column.

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    If you store a slew of smaller QuickTime movies and digital images on your drive, the Preview column is great. (You can even play a QuickTime movie from the Preview column.) Of course, longer movies and larger photos take more time to load — and even longer if they’re being read from optical media or over the network!

Click the dialog’s Close button to save your settings and return to the Finder.