I have been trying to find a solution for a very very long time on how to have the longer names of my folders and files to drop down to a 2nd line when viewing in the "Grid" Icon view in the My Finder window.

In Leopard 10.5 by default you are able to see long folder/file names drop down to a 2nd line, but I can't find a setting to replicate this action in any other OSX after that one. It makes it harder to see a folder/file name when it is truncated or non-wrapped.

So as an example; Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited looks like Williams...ted as a folder title and I would much rather prefer to have it look like the old style;

Williams Grand Prix

Engineering Limited

Is there a setting somewhere or a terminal command in Snow Leopard where I can make this change? I have tried to explain to Apple Care multiple times, but they were stupid enough to not even know what the word truncate meant after I explained it and "wrapping" thoroughly.

Also, please do not suggest the use of just the other List views in My Finder, my inquiry is for the Icon view only as this is the only view which I use. It is such an important feature for me that it is pushing me to go back to Leopard 10.5 just to have that.

2 Answers 2


With me (El Capitan) the following works fine:

defaults write com.apple.finder MaximumLabelLines 2; killall Finder

On my oldie iBook-G3, Tiger-OS 10.4.11, it is:

defaults write com.apple.finder FXMaximumLabelLines 2; killall Finder

Here's a goodie for "Tigers" who'd like to have icon text to the RIGHT on their desktop, too:

defaults write com.apple.finder DesktopViewOptions -dict-add PropertiesLocation rght; killall Finder

(BELOW is: "botm")

Moreover you can define icons' grid spacing on your Tiger's desktop this way:

defaults write com.apple.finder FXLabelHorizontalPad [# of pixels]; killall Finder
defaults write com.apple.finder FXLabelVerticalPad [# of pixels]; killall Finder

For [# of pixels] insert a number -- try lower ones first (3 - 10) as they add up with lots of icons…


I found this website that explains how to do it through terminal. Try it out on your Snow Leopard. It unfortunately didn't work for me on Yosemite, but it says the FX variant is as of 10.6, so you might be in luck.

defaults write com.apple.finder MaximumLabelLines 2
defaults write com.apple.finder FXMaximumLabelLines 2

This changes the maximum number of lines a label will wrap to in icon view. 2 is the default, but maybe you want more. The first version applies in older versions of Mac OS X, and the second version (with the 'FX') applies as of 10.6, but I'm not sure exactly when the change occured.

Let me know if it works out for you!

PS: Make sure to add ; killall Finder to the end of that command, or just call killall Finder after running it. That will force restart Finder in order for it to load the changes. If you want to call both at once just do:

defaults write com.apple.finder FXMaximumLabelLines 2; killall Finder

  • this doesn't seem to have worked, it changes the folder/file titles on my Desktop, but not the ones in My Finder window under Icon view.
    – Guzaking
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 17:41
  • I have tried both commands with the FX and without it and with the killall Finder command separate and attached to the command line at the end like you have shown but still no take yet. I'm also wondering if I should close out of Finder for any changes to take affect, but when i go to the Force Quit Applications pop up window it says "You will lose any unsaved changes" when I hit the Relaunch button. How can I force the Finder to save my changes if infact those changes can work somehow? Thank in advance :)
    – Guzaking
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 17:47
  • @Guzaking Hmm, in Finder are you in icon or list view? I didn't notice that it says that command is for icon view, so that probably explains why it works on your desktop. You shouldn't have to close out of Finder. Killall already does a really fast relaunch.
    – Jorden
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 18:59
  • yeah this is for Icon view only and Snow Leopard only, I can't seem to find a command line that works and I'm trying almost everything, but there has to be something out there for what I would think is a simple fix.
    – Guzaking
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 21:07
  • I was wondering if you came up with any other suggestions?
    – Guzaking
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 5:21

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