The Book of Words

FinderPop is a Universal Preference pane that extends OS X's contextual menus using a FinderPop Items folder much as the Apple Menu Items folder used to do for the Apple menu. It has other features too:

Mini Table Of Contents:
FinderPop Basics ; Invoking FinderPop ; Navigating FinderPop Menus ; FinderPop's Info Window ; Hints & Tips ; FAQ me! ; Release Notes ;

What's New since 1.9.9b4?

Universal at last! A friend loaned me a MacBook for the weekend so I could port FinderPop to Intel. It's a lot faster than my Mac Mini, that's for sure...
Control-free popup in the Finder - if enabled, just click and hold to get a contextual menu.
Significantly enhanced info and previews of items you're mousing over - press Cmd-Option for Info or Cmd-Shift-Option for Preview.
On 10.4 and later, while browsing FinderPop menus, press TAB to change the cursor to , select an item, and get this:


From here you can do various things to the item you selected. See Info Window section below for more details.

The Basics

If the System Preferences application is running, quit it. Strange things can happen otherwise.
Double-click the FinderPop.prefpane icon. System Preferences will open and ask if you want to install FinderPop for all users or just you. Choose 'just you'.

If you're lucky enough to have an Intel Mac, FinderPop will ask you for the admin password in order to set certain permissions on some FinderPop files. This is only done once at installation time.

Open the FinderPop preference pane. Click on the Show FinderPop Items Folder button in the Items sub-panel. Add aliases to your favourite applications, folders, documents, and whatnots to that folder. Now, every time you control-click, you'll get a few more options...
Here's my FinderPop Items folder and the corresponding FinderPop menu:


Simply put, FinderPop will try to open whatever it is you select from any of its menus. If there is a Finder selection and you've chosen an application from the FinderPop menu, FP will ask the app you chose from the menu to open the Finder selection. For example: you want the ability to Stuff the Finder Selection? Add an alias to "DropStuff" to the "FinderPop Items Folder", select your files in the Finder, Control-click on the last file in your selection, choose "DropStuff" from the resulting FinderPop submenu, and Bob's your mother's brother.

Items generally appear in FinderPop Menus in alphabetical order. You can control this ordering process by inserting an ordering prefix before the item's name in the Finder. This ordering prefix consists of three characters at the start of an item's name, where the third character is a right parenthesis ')' and neither of the first two characters is a left parenthesis. This prefix text will not appear in the menu.

Note that you can choose among various standard orderings in the "Sort Items in FP Menus" popup in the Appearance tab: for example, order by modification date, order alphabetically, or an ordering where applications appear first, then folders, then other documents (with alphabetic ordering in each of those sub-groups.) Note also that this setting overrides any sort order you may have specified with the ordering prefixes mentioned above.

Any item inside the FinderPop Items Folder whose name ends in '-***' (that's minus-star-star-star) is considered to be a menu dividing line, following the convention set by James Walker's OtherMenu.

Extending the OtherMenu convention somewhat, any folder -- or alias to one -- whose name ends in '-!!X' (minus-pling-pling-capital-ecks) will not be expanded (i.e., there will be no submenu hanging off it.) The name displayed in the menu will not have the '-!!X' suffix, so the FinderPop menu is aesthetically pleasing (even if, like so much else, the underlying organisation isn't.) If the folder's name ends in '-!!x' (minus-pling-pling-lowercase-ecks) then, in addition to not being expanded, no folder icon will appear. Back in the days when I was receptive to all sorts of mad ideas for FinderPop, I put that no-icon thing in for someone who claimed that FinderPop was "fundamentally flawed" without it.

Any item ending in 'mbar!!!!' will only appear when you click a blank portion of the menubar.

We freely admit that that the user interface for this really is fundamentally flawed, but until we have the time to improve this, I'm afraid we're stuck with it. Hey, you only have to do it once!

The FinderPop Preference pane's options should be fairly self-explanatory. :-) Help tags are available on most items (just hover the mouse over the item to see the help text.)

Invoking FinderPop

Navigating the FinderPop Menus

As usual with menus in OS X, typing a character will select the first menu item beginning with the character typed, which can save quite a bit of mousing.
Be aware that the OS X Menu Manager appears to do some very time-consuming processing if you are in a deep hierarchy and press any key. It is not unusual to get a beachball for a few seconds, but don't worry, the menu manager will eventually come back to life. I have reported this bug to Apple. For this reason, the use of Cmd-Option-Shift modifier keys is preferred when invoking the various FinderPop features described below.

Additionally, by pressing various modifier keys (Control, Command, Option and Shift) while traversing FinderPop menus, you can modify FinderPop's actions. The list below outlines the facilities available if there is no Finder selection while you're traversing any FinderPop-related submenu. You should notice the mouse pointer changing as indicated.

If there is a Finder selection, FinderPop automatically changes the cursor if it's over a menu item representing a folder while traversing a FinderPop related menu. The cursor will change to a to signify that the Finder selection will be copied to whatever directory you select. Note that if you do select a folder in this case, FinderPop will always ask for confirmation:


(Pressing the initial letter of a button has the same effect as pressing the button, thus pressing the m key corresponds to a click on the Move button.)

Note that there is a BUG in Finder X; if the Finder is asked via AppleScript to Move or Copy an item to a folder in which there is already an item with the same name, the Finder silently does nothing. (The good old OS9 Finder popped up a "Do you want to replace..." dialog.) I'll try to work around this bug in the next release of FinderPop.

The cursor will revert to the normal arrow cursor if copying would be impossible (for example, if the destination disk is write-protected, or if you were attempting to move a folder into one of its offspring.) If you manually force another cursor by pressing Command/Option/Shift/Control etc., then of course that forced cursor takes precedence.

All these modifier key chords are good piano practice, if nothing else.

Hints & Tips (or: "You know much that is hidden, O Tim.")

FAQ me!

Release Notes

Err, that's it for now. More words coming soon!
Last modified by turly, Sunday 21-January-2007.
Made with vim, touched up with Bare Bones Software's fine TextWrangler!