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Views Control Panel

How do you like the font and font size that your filenames and folders are written in on the screen? Don't stay with Geneva 12 point just because that is the MacOS default. The display font can be changed in a Control Panel called Views. Control Panels are a collection of mini-programs that act as customizable settings for a wide variety of computer functions. They live in the Control Panels folder within the System Folder, but they can be more easily accessed from the Apple Menu (see the little colorful Apple™ logo in the upper left of your screen).

views control panel menu

Hold the mouse button down on that little Apple, and then move the cursor down the menu that appears until Control Panels is highlighted. Notice that Control Panels has a small arrow to the right. If you continue to hold the mouse button down while highlighting Control Panels, an additional menu will appear to the right. While still holding the mouse button down, move the cursor to the right and down until Views is selected. All of this sounds a lot more difficult than it really is — after a couple of tries, it becomes second nature.

Once the Views control panel is selected, release the mouse. In a few seconds, you should see a dialog box.

views dialog box

At the top, is the font and point size that will be used for your filenames and folders. Play around with different fonts and sizes to suit your eyes and monitor size.

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Stuart likes New York 11 point (and Espy Sans 10 point for his Power Book), while Kim likes Chicago 12 point. No wonder she wants a 21 inch monitor!

Hey, I stare at a monitor all day, I don't want to strain my eyes at all! Besides, Chicago 12 is what Apple™ already chose for all your menus!


The next section down controls how icons behave when your View menu is set to view by Icon (or by Small Icon). We both use the Straight grid and keep the Always Snap to grid box checked. This is not too important if you always use the view by Name option, but it can be handy from time to time.

The bottom section — List Views — is extremely important, but poorly described in all the "How to use your Mac" literature that is packaged with the computer. There are three pictures of a hand writing on a piece of paper. Choose the middle sized one (click on the little radio button below it) — this gives you nice little color (& custom) icons next to the names of folders, files and programs. Choosing the smallest hand-writing picture will replace those nice icons with crummy generic little boxes next to folder names. Choosing the biggest hand-writing picture produces large icons which take up too much space and force you to scroll far too much to see your complete directory.

views dialog box excerpt

Continuing on, check the box next to Show disk info in header. This will display in the title bar of every window how many items are in each folder and the amount of stuff stored on your hard drive (MB in disk), as well as, how much free space is still available on your hard drive . For floppy diskettes (or external hard drives) the "disk info" header will list the amount of storage space used and free on that diskette (or external hard drive).

Do NOT check the box next to Calculate folder sizes. If you check this option, your computer will waste a lot of processor time constantly recalculating the contents of every folder on your hard drive. If you have it checked, you'll actually hear your hard drive just chugging away working on this unnecessary info.

The right hand column of check boxes, controls what information is listed with each filename in your directory windows. We find it useful to select

  • Show size
  • Show kind
  • Show date
but we leave unchecked the
  • Show label
  • Show version
  • Show comments
Please note, you won't see any of this info if you have chosen to view files and folders by Icon or by Small Icon.



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