How to set a default column width in OS X

If the columns in OS X column view are too narrow for your file and folder names, you can adjust them to a larger default size.

Topher Kessler MacFixIt Editor
Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.
Topher Kessler

OS X offers different folder view options that can be set by clicking the corresponding view button in the Finder toolbar: you can choose from list view, column view, Cover Flow, and icon view. Column view, one of the most popular, makes possible easy navigation of the filesystem using arrow keys.

While this view is convenient, in some cases its default column width may be too small for the file and folder names that you use, so when you navigate through your files a significant number of names will be truncated and condensed.

Column resize bar in OS X
Hold the Option key while dragging the separator bar to set a new default column size. Screenshot by Topher Kessler/CNET

To manage these situations, you can drag separators to resize individual columns, double-click the separator, or right-click it to get a set of options for resizing columns; however, you'll need to do these things again each time you create a new Finder window.

If you want to change the default width of the Finder columns, then you can do so by holding the Option key when dragging one column. This will change the size of all columns in all Finder windows, and when you close and reopen the window, the column sizes should remain.

While this works for the Finder's column view, it will only work with this view, and not with the others such as Cover Flow.

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