Finder: command-option-drag in View as List

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 13th, 2005 • 12:38 am

Normally, in Mac OS X’s Finder, when you hold the command and option keys down while dragging an item, this creates an alias of the item where you drop the item.

The problem is that, while this works in Finder windows that as in “View as Icons” or in “View as Columns” view mode, it doesn’t work in quite the same way in Finder windows in “View as List” view mode.

As far as I can tell, when you are in “View as List” mode, as soon as you press the command and option keys and try to drag stuff, the cursor changes into a hand symbol and Mac OS X tries to scroll up/down or left/right, depending on what your mouse movements are.

If there’s nothing to scroll to (i.e. if the window is large enough to display the entire contents of the folder), then sometimes Mac OS X does let you use command-option-drag as a shortcut to create an alias. Other times it just acts very strangely, adding and removing other items to/from the selection.

There is worse, though: If you have, say, a folder full of Microsoft Word files, and you command-option-drag one file onto another one, Mac OS X highlights the other one (as if it were a valid destination!), but displays the cursor icon indicating that it’s not a valid destination (!), and then if you drop the item Mac OS X attempts to launch… Microsoft Word in the Classic environment!

Totally weird — and totally buggy.

5 Responses to “Finder: command-option-drag in View as List”

  1. brianw says:

    Command-option doesn’t do any kind of window-scrolling on any of the Macs I’ve used; are you sure you’re not using some third party app (mouse driver?) for that? There are a bajillion Finder bugs that I encounter every day but command-option-dragging in List view to create aliases is one that has always worked perfectly for me.

    Well, except for that I do get the “drag a file onto another file” bug, although it doesn’t launch Classic for me–it just does the “launching zoom” animation upon releasing the mouse button but doesn’t actually open either file or an application. Weird. Annoying. Random!

    Come to think of it, “weird, annoying, random!” should be the slogan for the Finder team ;)

  2. LoonyPandora says:

    It’s a bit weird how it works, but it does work :)

    If you have a file highlighted, press apple+opt – then click on the file, you get the behaviour you mention. Note how clicking on the file again DE-selects it, thus giving you the default when no file is selected of “scroll the window about”

    I work in a slightly different way, so I didn’t notice the problem. I click+drag the file, and then in mid-drag, I press apple+opt – works like a charm.

    When I drop two files onto each other – I get the symptoms brianw mentions – the “launch zoom” animation, then nothing.

    Some more interesting inconsistencies ;) – I just using column view – although that does have just as many inconsistencies :-/

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    Brian: See what LP says. It actually only happens when the file you click on is already selected.

    LP: It still does not make sense that a single click should have two totally independent effects at the same time, i.e. DEselect the file and switch to “hand dragging” mode. It’s horribly confusing.

    I too use the column view mostly — but occasionally have to switch to list view because I need to sort by date, view the full names, etc.

    And you’re right: pressing command and option in midflight does work around the problem. It’s still only a work-around — and you have to remember it every time. (Since it’s not consistent with what happens in other view modes, it’s hard to remember…)

  4. brianw says:

    Oh whoops, my bad, I misread the original statement; my Finder DOES have the same bug ;)

    I’m bummed that Apple continues to treat the highly useful List View like a red-headed stepchild. And I’m amazed at how many little bugs like this have persisted for so long. Sigh. Thanks for continuing to watch out for them.

  5. Pierre Igot says:

    Yeah, and it’s not like the bugs haven’t been reported to them… At some level, I guess they just don’t care enough. It’s true that the Finder is “good enough” for most tasks. But I’d like it to be insanely great!

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