Getting Information on Items

The Info window is a tool you use to learn about various items on your desktop and in Finder windows. For some items, you can also control specific aspects of how those items work and how they can be used.

You can access all the tools in the Info window from a single pane by using its Expansion triangles. The window is organized into sections; you expose a section by clicking its Expansion triangle. You can have multiple information windows open at the same time (which is helpful when you want to compare items).

The Info window has slightly different features and information for each of the following groups:

  • Folders and volumes

  • Applications

  • Documents

The sections you see for each type of item are described in Table 4.4.

Table 4.4. Sections of the Get Info Window

Section

Applicable Items

Information/Tools It Provides

General

Folders and volumes; applications; documents

Provides identification information about the item, such as its name, type, and significant dates.

Name & Extension

Folders and volumes; applications; documents

Gives the full item name, including its filename extension if applicable.

Content Index

Folders and volumes

Provides information about the most recent index created for that item (an index is required to search for items by content). You can also index an item from this section and delete an item's current index.

Preview

Folders and volumes; applications; documents

Shows the icon of everything except documents. For documents, a preview of the document's content is provided (this is the same preview the Columns view provides).

Languages

Applications

Displays and enables you to choose the languages that should be available in the application.

Plug-ins

Applications

Enables you to configure plug-ins for the application. You can enable or disable plug-ins and can add or remove them.

Open with

Documents

Enables you to select an application with which to open a document. You can also set the application used for all documents of the same type.

Ownership & Permissions

Folders and volumes; applications; documents

Enables you to configure the access permissions for an item.

Comments

Folders and volumes; applications; documents

Enables you to add comments to an item.

Examples of how to use each of these sections for various items are provided in the following sections.

Working with General Information

The General section of the Info window is used mostly to provide detailed information about an item. However, for specific items, you can also use the controls it provides:

  1. Select the item you are interested in and press graphics/mac.gif-I. The Info window appears.

  2. Expand the General section if it isn't expanded by default.

  3. View the information provided at the top of the window.

  4. Use any tools that appear to configure the item.

Depending on the item you select, you have the following choices:

  • You can select the Locked check box that appears when the selected item is a document, a folder, or an application to prevent the item from being changed.

  • You can use the Stationery Pad check box to convert a selected document into a template.

Working with Name and Extension Information

The Name & Extension section enables you to view and change the name of the selected item:

  1. Select the item you are interested in and press graphics/mac.gif-I. The Info window appears.

  2. Expand the Name & Extension section.

  3. Edit the item name in the Name & Extension field that appears. Remember to add or edit filename extensions as appropriate (volumes and folders don't have filename extensions).

NOTE

Applications have the filename extension .app.


When you are displaying Name & Extension information for a document, you also see the "Hide extension" check box. When this is checked, the filename extension for the file is hidden in Finder windows. This check box is overridden by the Finder's file extension preference. If the "Show all file extensions" check box in the Finder Preferences window is checked, filename extensions are shown regardless of the "Hide extension" check box for an individual file. The Finder preference must be unchecked for this box to hide or show a file's filename extension.

Working with Content Index Information

This information relates to the index that must be created for any volume or folder to be searchable by content. This feature is discussed in the section "Finding Files by Content," later in this chapter.

Working with Preview Information

The Preview section provides a preview of the selected item. For everything except documents, this preview is simply the item's icon. However, when you use this feature on a document, you get a preview of the item's content, just as you do when you view a Finder window in Columns view. If the content is dynamic, such as a QuickTime movie, you can view or hear that content from the Preview section:

  1. Select the item you are interested in and press graphics/mac.gif-I. The Info window appears.

  2. Expand the Preview section.

  3. Use the Preview section to preview the item's content. For example, use the controls to view the item if it is a QuickTime movie.

For documents for which Mac OS X can't generate a preview, you see the appropriate icon instead.

Working with Languages Information

Mac OS X applications can support various languages. The Languages section of the Information window enables you to choose the languages you want to be available in an application. Do the following steps:

  1. Select the application you are interested in and press graphics/mac.gif-I. The Info window appears.

  2. Expand the Languages section.

  3. Remove the check box next to any language you want to disable for that application.

  4. Check the check box next to any language you want to enable in the application.

  5. To remove a language from the application, select the language and click Remove. After you confirm what you are doing, that language's support files are removed from the application's files and are no longer available.

  6. To add language support to the application, click the Add button and select the language file you want to add.

TIP

You can have more than one section expanded at the same time. In fact, you can have as few as none expanded, or you can have all of them expanded.


Working with Plug-in Information

Mac OS X applications can use plug-ins to provide additional capabilities and functionality. You can enable or disable plug-ins for an application and remove or add plug-ins using the following steps:

  1. Select the application for which you want to configure plug-ins and press graphics/mac.gif-I. The Info window appears.

  2. Expand the Plug-ins section (see Figure 4.12).

    Figure 4.12. You can use the Plug-ins section of the Info window to configure the plug-ins for an application, such as iMovie's plug-ins that provide additional special effects.

    graphics/04fig12.jpg

  3. Uncheck the box next to any plug-in you want to disable for that application.

  4. Check the box next to any plug-in you want to enable in the application.

  5. To remove a plug-in from the application, select the plug-in and click Remove. After you confirm what you are doing, that plug-in is removed from the application and is no longer available.

  6. To add a plug-in to the application, click the Add button and select the plug-in file you want to add.

Working with Open with Information

You can use the "Open with" section to determine which application is used to open a file:

  1. Select the document you are interested in and press graphics/mac.gif-I. The Info window appears.

  2. Expand the "Open with" section.

  3. Select the application with which you want the file to be opened on the pop-up menu. The application currently associated with the document is shown in the pop-up menu. The "suggested" applications appear on the menu by default. If you want to select an application that is not shown on the pop-up menu, click Other and select the application you want to be used.

  4. If you want all files of the same type to be opened with the application you selected, click the Change All button.

Working with Ownership and Permissions Information

The Ownership & Permissions section is used to configure access to the item (see Figure 4.13). This area enables you to control who has access to an item, as well as defining the type of access provided.

Figure 4.13. The Ownership & Permissions section of the Information window is an important security tool whether you share your Mac directly or across a network.

graphics/04fig13.jpg

To learn how to configure access to an item, see "Understanding and Setting Permissions," p. 843.


Working with Comments Information

The Comments section enables you to add comments to the selected item:

  1. Select the document you are interested in and press graphics/mac.gif-I. The Info window appears.

  2. Expand the Comments section.

  3. Enter your comments in the field. The comments you enter remain with the item, and you can read them by either expanding the Comments section or adding the Comments column to the List view and viewing a Finder window in that view.



    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
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