You would think Mac OS X “Yosemite” to be perfectly suitable for every Mac user, but Path Finder 7 is the living proof much of OS X can still be improved, despite Yosemite’s good looks and excellent user experience. Let’s just say Yosemite is focused on improving the interaction between you and any Mac device, while Path Finder 7 improves on the Mac user experience.
I went through all of Path Finder 7’s (€31.90) new features and followed the order listed in Cocoatech’s official change log. I started with the Dropbox integration, which is automatic, i.e. the app asks you to link your Dropbox account once and then you can forget about Dropbox altogether. This new feature works just as in the Finder. The menu items are only shown when the link with your Dropbox account is active.
The Path Finder Dropbox integration works much like the Finder’s, but to me Path Finder is more about features that are not in the Finder, and the first item on that list was FolderSync. FolderSync is just great. It allows you to compare two folders and synchronise them intelligently. Almost everything about this new capability is customisable — the colours, the presets and the filters…
All you need to do is select two folders — either with the context menu or by plain mouse click when you’re in Dual pane mode — and launch the FolderSync option. A panel with all the files in the two folders will appear, with colours designating the differences. Presets allow you to add files and update them in two directions. This enables a synchronisation with you in the driver’s seat. FolderSync is a valuable addition to file comparison and is in my opinion, the number one reason to upgrade to Path Finder 7.
Copying, moving and deleting a file with Path Finder 7 is faster than with version 6, but it’s not faster than the Finder, I found. It’s the same. What isn’t the same, but the second reason why you would choose Path Finder 7 over the Finder is the way Path Finder 7 handles conflicting folder and file names. You not only get to keep both or replace one with the other, but also “keep based on time stamp”, which is a more intelligent way to quickly decide whether you want to overwrite or not.
According to the change log, the Path Finder Desktop has been improved. I didn’t have much problems with the previous one, but it’s true, icons stay in place, arranging icons follows the arrangement options of the Finder since Mavericks and there are no problems with Mission Control. Also, icon view redraws icons faster, while column view offers all sorting and icon size options like the ones you get in icon and list view, which I would like to see in the Finder as well.
The terminal is faster and works with non-ASCII characters. It can now live in one of the Drawers. Drawers replace the old Shelves and you can have four configurable modules in the bottom Drawer and four in the right Drawer, for a total of eight modules like the Info and Tags modules instantly available. Modules can’t be removed using a command, but if you drag the title bar down to the next module, you’ll actually collapse that module out of sight — very handy if you only want a select number of modules in each Drawer.
Speaking of Tags: Finder tags are immediately updated when you tag a file in Path Finder 7 and vice versa. Path Finder 7 can also do useful things with tabs, such as saving tabs into sets, close them all and even undo closing a tab. File Info has never been so informative. The expanded File Info panel has a Report feature that enables you to know literally everything there is to know about a file. The Find window has always been a favourite of mine. It now comes with two new query filters: “does not contain” and “is not”. A selection of files can now be inverted, while Path Navigator can be edited directly in the folder path by clicking an empty space there.
There’s more that has changed and improved in Path Finder 7 — the change log lists 41 items and that’s not even a complete list. In the past, Path Finder made life a lot easier. While others were struggling with the Terminal to accomplish things you can’t do with the Finder on its own, Path Finder users were using its efficiency enhancing features. Path Finder 7 expands on efficiency, usability and user experience and stays a recommended all-in-one file/Finder replacement tool.