I can set the order and width of columns in the folder that's currently front in the screen as default view of that particular folder, but how can I set it as the default view of all the folders? I'd like the columns to always sit in the Name, Date Added, Date Modified, Size, Kind, Date Last Opened, Date Created order, and the width of column for anything other than names to be narrow which ever the folder I'm looking at.

OS X Mountain Lion

  • Your headline question contradicts the description in the body. In column view no columns for Date Added, Date Modified etc. exist! The mentioned columns only exist in list view
    – klanomath
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


If you don't want to use third-party Finder tweaking applications, the Finder has a display settings panel for windows that you get with Cmd-J. The settings you make in the panel are for the currently active folder window, but there is a Use as Defaults button which does just that for new folder windows. This includes the column order and column width in the active window.

However, this doesn't override the display settings of folders that have been opened before. So in order to make your new display setting the default for all folders, you need to delete all folder display settings, then relaunch the Finder. Resetting is done by deleting the invisible .DS_Store files within each folder, in which the Finder stores the display settings. To do that, you can copy&paste the following Unix command into the Terminal application. The command execution requires you to put in an admin password and will take two minutes or so:

sudo find / -name ".DS_Store"  -exec rm {} \;

When it has finished, relaunch the Finder: Press Cmd-Alt-esc to open the 'Force Quit' window where you select 'Finder' and click 'Relaunch'. You will notice that icons on the Desktop are realigned to a standard grid. Now open a Finder window and create the new default display setting.

(This has been tested on OS X 10.7.5 Lion)

  • Do thoes .DS_Store files contain any other important info or do they only exist for saving view preferences in Finder?
    – stacko
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 1:32
  • The most important data they contain are icon display positions and file list preferences. There is no risk in deleting them. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 2:01

Use as Defaults actually sets a particular configuration as the default configuration for any folder.

Defaults apply globally, unless folder-specific settings exist. Thus, folders whose view options have been customized are not affected by them.

Newly created folders will comply with your preferences, but folders which you've previously set special view options for may not (depending on the options). Here's a possible solution:

  • First, run this command:

    sudo find / -name '.DS_Store' -delete

    This will delete all .DS_Store files in your drive, where some of these folder-specific preferences are stored.

  • Secondly, you should reset view-related properties from com.apple.Finder domain. However, since there are lots of such properties, you may just reset all Finder's settings:

    • Close all Finder windows.
    • Execute this in your Terminal:

      defaults delete com.apple.Finder && killall Finder

    Finder will be forcibly relaunched.

At this point you can open a new Finder window, set it as you want, and change defaults through Show View Options (cmd-J), as you already did.

  • I did the above and again what you suggested, but each Finder window I open opens not in the list view and not with the columns selected. Every folder window looks different still : ( Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 7:56

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