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Review: Default Folder X - Open & Save Dialog Enhancement

default folder x

One of the biggest time consumers I have found with the Finder is navigating the folder structure to save and open files. I have always liked to organize my files in a logical way. Downloads from Safari, go in the 'download - Safari' folder, receipts in the 'receipts' folder, and so on. Occasionally, I will even get more granular than that, taking the folders into several levels deep. For example, with my Verizon bill, I have two folders - DSL & Phone Bill, and I save files in them accordingly. As you can tell, this entails lots of clicking or keyboard shortcuts. At least it did, until I was introduced to Default Folder X. I had heard about the program before, but never given it a try. Long time Mac users know about it, since it was a staple on OS 9, and luckily has made the conversion to OS X.

What 's the point?

The biggest feature is described right into the name - Default Folder. You can setup default folders for any or all of your applications. For example, you can setup Photoshop to default to a particular folder you always use. This is an incredible time saver. No longer do you have to navigate several folders deep, just to save or open a file. Ok, you are probably thinking that you can setup default folders via preferences in particular applications. Well, you can, in some, at least for saving. However, the beauty of Default Folder is the ability to completely work with most any app (carbon or cocoa), and provide the same features system wide.

How it works:

Default Folder provides you with 5 different menus connected to the side of the dialog box, which you can select any time the dialog is open. menu overview Utilities: You can setup default folders, rename, get info, move to trash, create archives, and configure Default Folder X. Computer: Provides access to the currently mounted drives on your Mac. Favorites: Add or remove Favorite folders. You can add these at at any time, and the best part is you are able to add keyboard shortcuts. For my 'Tip' folder, I simply press 'Command-T', and I don't even have to leave the keyboard. Recent Menu: Recently accessed folders. This is really handy if you are using an app you don't have DFX configured for, and you need to quickly access the last set of folders you were using with it. Finder Window: Open and Save from the Finder menu. Any Finder windows that are open with the Finder can be pointed to as your open or save area. All of these menus are quick and easy to use, and make accessing your folder structure a breeze.

Create, Modify, Delete on the fly:

One of my favorite features is the ability to Rename a folder on the fly - even if it's a folder you have configured as default for other apps. Default Folder X recognizes this. For example, anything I save in Firefox, I have a folder called 'Downloads - Firefox'. On the fly, I renamed it from the Default Folder interface, and changed the name to 'Downloads - Firefox Stuff', and Default Folder X knew the new path. Very cool.

Quick Navigation:

Even with the favorites and default folders configured, there may be a time when you need to navigate to a special folder. To do so, you can use the standard Finder navigation, or even better, use the built in pop-up menus that you can navigate the hierarchical folder system of OS X. I love the navigation flexibility.

Menu Bar:

If you like, you can even add the Default Folder icon to your menu bar. From there, you can access DFX preferences, navigate into any folder on your computer, Get Info for any folder, and access to the drives on your Computer, Favorites, Recent Folders, and Finder. I found this to be very useful, and that's saying a lot for me. I am not a person that cares to have another object in my menu bar. Menubar

Spotlight Integration:

While all of these are great, my favorite new feature is the ability to add spotlight comments to the file while you save it. This makes the Spotlight technology even more useful, since you can tag the files with keywords or descriptions, so your results come up quicker and more accurate. While I don't tag everything with spotlight comments, I certainly do tag things that I know spotlight doesn't index. spotlight

Folder Sets:

The developer of Default Folder X understand that one default folder might not be appropriate. If this is the case for you, you can configure 'Folder Sets'. Each set can be configured to your preferred preferences. I found a use for this right away. When I do the Podcast, I have a particular place to save the podcast files from Garage Band. Also, when I create the images for reviews, tutorials, and such, I configured default folders for all of these, and they are specific to my 'Podcast' folder set. You can create a really efficient work flow with this technique. I haven't timed it, but I'm sure I have saved several minutes each day simply by this quicker navigation method. It's definitely made me more efficient.

Full disclosure: The author is an acquaintance via the internet, and locally lives in my town. Additionally, he sponsored one of our contests before, and provided us with a few licenses to give away. As for the review, It is totally unbiased, and only represents my feelings on the product during testing. You will find a similar opinion by searching for other review s on this product.

Conclusion: Default Folder X is what Opening and Saving should be like on OS X. It's an extremely thought out product, and is so good, its stood the test of time through previous versions of the Mac OS, and enhances it even more in OS X. 5 out of 5