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Default Folder X – The Tiny Time Saving App

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Default Folder X and Asian Efficiency

Default Folder X (DFX) is one of those little apps you won’t hear much about but its functions are really nifty and useful. In this article I’m going to show you how this app can make your life easier on the Mac.

The open/save dialog window is probably something you don’t really think about much. It’s just that process where you select the file you want to open or you select the location where you want to save the file. However, if you do this a lot in a day it can become quite tedious. This is exactly where DFX comes in handy. It makes the process a lot easier and faster. Hence, more efficient.

Default Folder X does not have many functions, but it excels at one very specific task: browsing efficiently during the open/save windows within OS X. The app enhances the open and save dialog windows by adding extra panels and features that makes browsing a lot easier. We’ve all had experiences where we needed to open a file and you have to click endlessly through folders to find the specific file. Well DFX will make this process a lot easier.

Here is a screenshot to show you the extra added panels that DFX adds:

Default Folder X

Default Folder X adds an extra panel on the right side.

As you can see on the right side, you will see some extra icons. Let’s go over each one of these.

Default Folder Utilities

Here you can customize your Default Folder X and perform common and routine folder actions such as renaming the current folder, move the folder to the trash bin or zipping the folder.

Default Folder X utilities

Default Folder X utilities allows you to do quick routine tasks within a folder.

One nifty panel you can customize is the “Show Preview, Information and Tags” panel. This will add an extra panel at the bottom of the window.

Default Folder X preview panel

Notice the extra panel at the bottom. The Default Folder X preview panel is super useful. I use this all the time.

The extra panel is sort of like an extra Finder windows where you can do all sort of things you could normally do within a Finder window. The preview feature is nice because you can preview what file you are dealing with. It’s especially useful for images so you don’t waste time guessing and opening the wrong images. You can turn off this panel if you like.


This will show you all available drives available to you. If you like to browse around fast, you will use this option. Because folders collapse when you hover over them, you can quickly get to your location. This is a lot faster than clicking to find your folder.

Favorite Folders

One of my favorite features in Default Folder X is that you can setup your favorite folders. Everyone has a couple folders where they store everything or they access a couple folders the most. WIth DFX you can setup a list of those folders so they are only a few clicks away. Plus, if you are a keyboard rockstar you can use keyboard shortcuts to access them. I use this feature of DFX the most and to me this is one of the reasons why I purchased this little app.

One good thing to know: the shortcuts will override your default Mac shortcuts too. For example, you can use ⌘ + A even though that’s the select all shortcut.

Default Folder X favorites

You really want to setup yourDefault Folder X favorites and their shortcuts. Absolutely a time saver.

Recent Folders

Another favorite feature of mine is the Recent Folder functionality. As you might guess, it will show you all the folders you have recently accessed in Finder.

Default Folder X recent folders

You also know to know the shortcuts for recent folders.

You really want to know the shortcut for this one: option + up/down arrow keys. That way you can traverse through your recent folders without using the mouse. I use this feature all the time.

This becomes really useful when I’m writing blog posts for Asian Efficiency. As I’m opening a file in Scrivener, I might have to do some Photoshopping later on for images in the article. When I’m in PS, when I save the file all I do is press option + arrow key down and I’m in the folder where I have my article.

Open Finder Windows

This is a pretty cool feature. When you click on that it will show you all the current folders of any Finder windows you have open (this also works with Pathfinder). For example, if you have a Finder window open and the current folder you are watching is /username/Desktop/tmp/, then when you click on the open finder windows you can select to go to that path. Personally I don’t use this feature very often but the times I do it does make browsing a lot faster.


As you can see, there is not a lot of features in Default Folder X. It just enhances the open/save dialog windows, but it really makes your life easier in browsing around. And it does that very well. If you are someone who spends a lot of time opening and saving files, you should consider looking into this app to save you some valuable time.

Have you used this app before? Let us know in the comments what you think of it!

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Posted by Joe Bahgat  | June 4, 2012 at 3:57AM | Reply

I’ve been a DFX fan since reading about it in David Sparks’s ‘Mac at Work,’ but this makes me excited about it all over again. Thanks for pointing out a couple of functions that I didn’t even know were there! Now I’m looking forward to starting my Monday workflow…

Posted by Thanh Pham  | June 4, 2012 at 6:46AM

Hi Joe, glad you like it. This app has saved me a lot of time and it continues to do so. I hope it can do the same for you with the new functions you will try out.

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