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Path Finder 6.1.2

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Path Finder Editor's Review

Path Finder is a strong alternative file browser for Mac OS X.

My first impression when opening this program was that I had an upgraded Finder in front of my eyes. Things became much better than this first impression, when I started to discover what this application included.

It provides you an interface with great functionality and better access than 'Finder'. I really like the tabbed browsing implementation. Every tab has the entire directory structure of the opened folder, thus you can access any folder quickly just by clicking on them.

Another great thing is the possibility to jump between your home and your system directories, like Favorites, Documents, Music, Movies, Pictures, Desktop, and Applications. This bar is placed above the tabs and it is ergonomically designed. Clicking one of those directories won't make it jump to it. In fact, it opens a drop-down menu from where you can pick what you would like to do like open it, open it in a new tab, or select a subdirectory. If the subdirectory has another subdirectory, then you can browse the whole substructure from that menu.

Other things from the interface that caught my attention were the Shelf, the Volumes, and the Drop Stack areas. The Shelf and the Volumes are similar to the ones from the Finder, but with better functionality. The Drop Stack is something new, because you can drop files here that you would like to move in another location. This removes the need of opening two Finder windows in order to drag-and-drop the file or files that you want to move.

You can switch between them by using the Drop Stack's drop down menu. That menu also provides you functionalities like compress, compress and e-mail, burn, or clear the list for either the top file or the whole list.

The application has a built-in StuffIt engine. This means that you can decompress every file that is supported by StuffIt Expander. The good news doesn't end here, the application has some of the StuffIt Standard functionalities such as, compressing files, even it SIT and SITX archives. The archiving engine is completed by the disk creator engine, through which Path Finder can easily create DMG images.

Towards the end of testing this program, I found another nice functionality, the preview of files. Unlike Finder, this application can preview text files or documents. Finder can't preview the text files properly, and it can't preview at all documents such as the ones in RTF format.

Pluses: it gives you various options, a tabbed browsing interface, a compressing and decompressing built in engine based on StuffIt, a built in DMG disk image creation engine, a very good preview functionality for images, documents, or text files, it provides you a Drop Stack which improves the way you move files around. The interface of this program is highly customizable.

Drawbacks / flaws:

In conclusion: I believe this is the Swiss Army Knife of the file browsers. The producer managed to add enough built-in features in order to remove the need of other programs, such as archiving programs, disk image creators, etc. As far as I know, the only competitor for this program is File Buddy.

version reviewed: 4.6.1

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