Finder Window Manager† (FWM) is an application for managing all of your Mac OS X Finder window needs. This application allows you to create Window Sets to remember the size, placement, and just about all the view options of your open windows (there are a few minor settings such as label placement below or on the side of icon views that are not open to modification by third-party applications). Once a Window Set has been created, you can move, close, or otherwise modify your windows and easily restore the captured Window Set properties, opening all the windows and recreating their views, bounds, and positions—and you can have an unlimited number of Window Sets. When you have many projects in various windows, this application quickly becomes indispensable. While FWM provides an easy-to-use interface for managing Window Sets, this feature is just the tip of the iceberg of this application’s capabilities.
FWM is fully-functional trialware. However, until you register, you are limited to using FWM for only 60 minutes at a time and when it is launched you will receive a notice asking you to register and pay the registration fee. If you find FWM useful—and we hope you will—please consider paying the nominal registration fee. Once registered, the initial dialog will no longer be displayed and the 60-minute trial period limitation is removed.
Please contact us with any comments, requests, or bugs that you encounter. Your help to make this an even better product is greatly appreciated. This is just one of our many applications available for download—and most of them are free! To see our other work, click here.
Simply copy Finder Window Manager to your Applications folder (or anywhere, really), and launch.
The main feature of Finder Window Manager is the ability to save and restore your window placement and view options via Window Sets. To create a set, simply open any windows you would like included in your Set, position them where you’d like (for exact placement, try the Precisely Position utility) and set their views. Once you have your windows arranged to your liking, create a new Window Set by selecting “Create New Window Set” from the FWM menu (a menu in you menubar designated by an icon of two stacked windows) and you will instantly be able to recreate your current window views. You may have an unlimited number of Sets. When saving your Set, the name you choose will determine its order in your Set list (by alphanumerical order) so if you would like it to sort at the top, add a prefix such as “01-”. If you choose a name of an existing Set for the name of your new Set, you will be asked if you want to overwrite the old Set or come up with a new, unique name.
To restore a Set just select a Set from the Restore Window Set submenu to restore your selected Window Set. If you have the main interface window open, you may also simply double-click on the Set name in the Window Set list; select the Set and press Command-R;or press Command-1 for Set 1, Command-2 for Set 2, etc.). Once restored, you may move, change the views, close the windows of the Set, etc. and this will have no impact on the captured settings of the Set. If you would like to capture your modified settings, after you have made your modifications, select the “Create New Window Set” menu item from the FWM menu, enter the name of your existing Set, and confirm that you want to replace the old Set.
Once you have restored a Set, you can move the windows, change the views, etc. and then when you restore the Set, all of the windows will “snap back” to the snapshot saved when you created the Set. If you try to restore a Set but one or more of the folders whose window is part of the Set has been renamed, deleted, or moved, the window representing that folder will be deleted from the Set. If all folders of a set are modified as such, the Set itself will be deleted.
If you have previously registered FWM, your registration code will automatically be recognized by this new version. In addition, all of your preferences and Sets should also automatically be imported. If your preferences and Sets were not automatically imported, it is most likely because the previous version of FWM you were using was older than v1.2. If this is the case, don’t fret, you can easily import your preferences and Sets by going to the Preferences window, clicking on the “General” tab and clicking the “Import Window Sets & Prefs from Previous Version” button then navigate to your old FWM application and select it. Your old preferences will be imported and your old Sets will be appended to your new Sets and you will be able to reconcile the Set names if your old and new Sets share a name. You can also quickly delete all Sets and restore the default preferences by pressing the appropriate button also on the “General” tab.
Window Sets are sorted in alphanumerical order so if you would like to have a set at the top of your list, rename it by selecting the Set from the Restore Window Set submenu. In the resulting dialog, add a numeric prefix such as “01-” and this Set will be sorted first in your list. Similary, if you want a Set to sort to the bottom of your list add a prefix such as “~” or “zzz-”.
Perhaps your project is finished and you no longer need your Window Set. Simply select the set from the Delete Window Set submenu. If you have the main interface window open, you may also select the Set in the Window Sets list and press Command-Delete to delete your Set. You will be prompted for confirmation of your choice—be careful, there is no undoing a delete. If you want to recreate a Set after you have deleted it, you will have to open and arrange all of your windows manually. If you aren’t using a Set regularly but would like to keep it, consider renaming the Set so that it sorts to the bottom of your Set list.
Along with the ability to create and restore Finder Window Sets, FWM provides a number of tremendously useful window-related utilities. To run any of these utilities, simply select it from the “Utilities” menu. Many of the utilities’ behaviors can be modified via the Preferences.
Close All Windows
Closes all Finder windows and (optionally) hides all other applications leaving a clean desktop—well, unless your icons are out of control! You can set the option to hide other applications in the Preferences.
Close All Windows Except Front
Closes all Finder windows except the current one and (optionally) hides all other applications. You can set the option to hide other applications in the Preferences.
Collapse All Windows
Collapses all Finder windows to the Dock. If Unsanity’s excellent WindowShade X† utility is installed, the windows should be “rolled up” but then they must be manually expanded, the “Expand All Windows” utility will not expand windows “rolled up” using WindowShade X.
Collapse All Windows Except Front
Collapses all Finder windows except the current one to the Dock. If Unsanity’s WindowShade X utility is installed, the windows should be “rolled up” but then they must be manually expanded, the “Expand All Windows” utility will not expand windows “rolled up” using WindowShade X.
Expand All Windows
Expands all collapsed Finder windows in the Dock. Does not work on windows “rolled up” using Unsanity’s WindowShade X.
Cycle Through All Windows
Cycles through all windows to easily see the contents of your folders without having to try and click on each window. If you often have many windows open and the titles are less than informative, this utility is indispensable. If you can clearly see all of your windows (or you only have one or no windows opened), this utility will not be very helpful.
This was a highly requested feature similar to the Neatnik utility for Mac OS 7.5-9.x. Open up a window for a folder, set its size, view, position, etc., then run this script to copy those settings to the folder’s subfolders (up to 9 levels deep). It is very useful for preparing projects for distribution via CD or DVD. Please note: Parent Cloner can take a long time to process depending on the number of subfolders to be modified. There are a few minor settings such as label placement below or on the side of icon views that are not open to modification by third-party applications and, as such, FWM will not replicate these settings to subfolders. You can modify the behavior of this utility in the Preferences.
Clone Front Window
Makes an exact duplicate of the current window (shrinking the height if it is greater than half the screen height) directly below the first. This is very useful to easily copy, sort, or compare files.
Precisely Position Front Window
Allows you to exactly position the front window. You can modify the width or height, and the exact location—horizontally or vertically—one pixel (or more) at a time.
Stack Open Windows
Stacks all windows from the top left corner using the current windows’ views and sizes and tries to zoom the window size to fit the contents. You can determine the offset of the stacked windows and several other options via the “Stack” tab of the Preferences.
Stack Open Windows and set to Icon View
Stacks all windows from top left corner changing the views to icon view and attempts to zoom windows to exact size of contents.
Stack Open Windows and set to List View
Stacks all windows from top left corner changing the views to list view and attempts to zoom windows to exact size of contents.
Tile Open Windows
Tiles all windows to a fixed size using the current windows’ views. You can set the behavior of this utility including the size of the tiled windows via the Preferences window.
Tile Open Windows and set to Icon View
Tiles all windows to a fixed size using icon views.
Tile Open Windows and set to List View
Tiles all windows to a fixed size using list views.
Open Special Folder...
Opens any of the special folders such as the Library Fonts folder or your Preferences folder so you don’t have to hunt for them.
The Watcher is a utility that can constantly monitor your Finder windows and make sure they stay organized per your specifications. It can work when a new window is opened or on every open window all the time. There are many parameters you can set for how your windows will be organized when using the Watcher (icon, list, or column view; icon size and arrangment; etc.). These settings can be modified in the Watcher preference tab of the Preference panel. To enable the Watcher, simply select “Turn the Watcher On” from the FWM menu. Similarly, to disable the Watcher, select “Turn the Watcher Off” from the FWM menu.
Many people have requested the ability to assign system-wide hotkeys to FWM’s utilities. This can now be accomplished by using the FWM helper script applications found in the “FWM Extras” folder of the FWM disk image in conjunction with any of a number of launcher applications. Two terrific launchers are xkeys <http://www.zarkonnen.com/projects/xkeys.php> or Butler (Another Launcher) <http://www.petermaurer.de/butler>. (While these launchers are free, please consider making a contribution to the developers for their excellent efforts.) You can use either of these launchers (or your launcher of choice) to easily create hotkey equivalents to launch the appropriate FWM helper script application.
To create a helper script to restore a specific Window Set, duplicate the helper script application “02 FWM > Restore «Set Name»” and rename it to include the name of the Set it should restore. For instance, if you want to restore a Set named “Project X”, then you would name the newly duplicated helper script application “02 FWM > Restore Project X” and assign this application to the hotkey of your choice using your launcher software. In this way you could assign any hotkey equivalent for restoring any Set as well as performing many of the FWM utilities.
- Main Window
- Command-C = Create New Set
- Command-R = Restore Set
- Command-1 = Restore Set 1
- Command-2 = Restore Set 2
- Command-3 = Restore Set 3
- Command-4 = Restore Set 4
- Command-5 = Restore Set 5
- Command-6 = Restore Set 6
- Command-7 = Restore Set 7
- Command-8 = Restore Set 8
- Command-9 = Restore Set 9
- Command-Option-R = Rename Set
- Command-Delete = Delete Set
- Command-; = Preferences
- Command-? = Toggle Help
- Command-W = Close Window
- Command-M = Minimize FWM
- Command-H = Hide FWM
- Command-Q = Quit
- Cycle Windows
- < = Previous Window
- > = Next Window
- Precisely Positon Window
- Command-Option-I = Move Up
- Command-Option-J = Move Left
- Command-Option-K = Move Right
- Command-Option-M = Move Down
- v1.9.8 - Released May 9, 2011
- Added 64-Bit support (requires Mac OS X 10.6+).
- Improved compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).
- Several minor enhancements.
- v1.9.7 - Released June 22, 2007
- Added Update Set feature.
- Added option to keep existing Finder windows open when restoring a Set (you can set the default to keep the windows open and toggle the setting on the fly when restoring a Set with the Option key held down).
- Added initial support for stacking & tiling windows in applications other then the Finder. Two new utilities, “Stack Windows in Frontmost Application” and “Tile Windows in Frontmost Application”, will attempt to arrange the windows of the active application. The basic preferences for stacking and tiling (offsets, number of tiles, etc.) will be used when arranging application windows.†
- Many memory & code optimizations.
- Several minor enhancements.
- Due to enhancements, FWM is no longer compatible with Mac OS X 10.3.
† This feature may not work in every application but has been successfully tested with:
- FileMaker Pro
- Microsoft Entourage
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- QuickTime Player
- Script Editor
- v1.9.6 - Released December 8, 2006
- The Watcher status is now respected through restarts.
- Minor interface improvements.
- v1.9.5 - Released April 26, 2006
- Added Mac OS X 10.4 compatibility.
- Updated to a Universal Binary.
- Improved the tooltips and help files.
- Minor code & speed optimizations.
- Some issues with the Parent Cloner utility on Mac OS X 10.4 systems have remained unresolved.
- v1.9.4 - Released August 23, 2004
- Minor code & speed optimizations.
- Fixes for running on some non-English systems.
- v1.9.3 - Released May 19, 2004
- Fixed several minor bugs.
- v1.9.2 - Released May 5, 2004
- Fixed a major bug that prevented the Restore, Rename, and Delete Sets menus from working properly when there were more than one Window Set defined.
- v1.9.1 - Released May 4, 2004
- Fixed a bug that caused an NSInternalScriptError on launch on some systems.
- v1.9 - Released May 3, 2004
- Significant code optimizations eliminated the need for the background only application “fwm_daemon” resulting in a host of benefits including a significant decrease in RAM requirements, CPU usage, and file size of the application itself.
- Added a feature to the Watcher to keep windows arranged in their current view. In this way you can get the benefits of the sizing and positioning features of the Watcher without changing views.
- The Watcher now properly adjusts windows whether or not the Mac OS X 10.3 toolbar is visible.
- Fixed an annoying bug that caused column widths of windows in Sets to be restored improperly between relaunches of FWM.
- Added completely variable user specified offsets and start position for Stacking.
- Many other minor fixes.
- v1.8.1 - Released February 27, 2004
- Added a feature to the Watcher to also set the position of Finder windows.
- Added option to ignore missing windows from a Set if they aren’t found. The default behavior is to notify you if a window is missing (you may have moved or deleted the window’s target folder) and to remove the window from your Set. If you choose to ignore missing windows by selecting the appropriate option in the preferences, when FWM encounters a missing window when restoring a Set, it will ignore that window. This is helpful if you have Sets that are made up of windows from removable or remote volumes that aren’t always available. If you choose to ignore missing windows in Sets like these, the windows on the other volumes will be restored when the volumes are available and simply skipped if the volumes are not mounted.
- Changed the behavior of the progress bars so the main window isn’t opened for every action. The progress bar will now be attached to the top of the main screen.
- Significantly improved speed when closing the preference window and when quitting FWM.
- v1.8 - Released February 25, 2004
- Added a new Finder Watcher Feature. When active, this will watch for any opened window in the Finder and automatically adjust its view settings per your preferences. Please note, there are some features that can be set manually on a per window basis from the Finder. At this time some of these features such as show icon preview are not currently available in FWM. The options that are not currently available are disabled in the interface but will be added to a future release. Hopefully. Watcher has a an additional preference to adjust a window when it is first opened or all the time. If it is set to all the time, it may become distracting as the windows resize per the specifications and may interfere with other utilities such as tiling or stacking windows.
- Added an option to view/hide & set the width of any column when stacking or tiling in list view.
- Added an option to use black & white icons instead the standard color icons in the main menu.
- Added an option to show or hide the main interface window on startup.
- Added an option to keep the main interface window open after restoring a Set or running a utility.
- Added new helper applications so you can remotely control FWM using a keyboard launcher. See the included “FWM Extras” folder or the online help topic “Extra Helpers” for more information.
- Significant code re-write should result in better compatibility and speed.
- Augmented the documentation and the tool tips.
- Many other minor fixes.
- v1.7.5 - Released February 16, 2004
- Fixed a bug when using the version check feature from the About window when the About window was not attached to the main interface window.
- v1.7.4 - Released February 15, 2004
- Fixed a registration bug.
- v1.7.3 - Released February 12, 2004
- Fixed some cosmetic bugs.
- v1.7.2 - Released February 11, 2004
- Fixed a minor bug that displayed a debugging message when starting on some unregistered systems.
- v1.7.1 - Released February 9, 2004
- Fixed a major bug that prevented the preferences from being saved on systems running Mac OS X 10.2.x.
- v1.7 - Released February 9, 2004
- The major advance in this version is that FWM now acts as a background application with a menu extra-like interface. When launched, a new menu will appear on the right side of your menu bar with a an icon of two stacked windows as its identifier.
- Various other minor tweaks and bug fixes.
- v1.6 - Released October 29, 2003
- Supports the new Mac OS X 10.3 Finder windows with or without the toolbar enabled. While support for 10.3 was added, this version should still be compatible with earlier versions but that it is not guaranteed. v1.5.2 will remain available to ensure compatibility with 10.2.x.
- Support for 10.3 has necessitated some changes to the internal format for Window Sets. Consequently, when restoring existing Sets, at the end of the session, FWM may report that there have been errors. The best way to combat this is to restore a Set, then delete it, and immediately create a new Set effectively rebuilding the internal format.
- Added options to hide the new Finder window toolbars when stacking or tiling windows. (Mac OS X 10.3+ only.)
- Major reworking of many routines to allow for changes in the 10.3 Finder. Consequently, the Finder is never hidden when performing FWM routines. This degrades performance as the computer has to update the display but it counteracts a new development in the Finder that causes it to ignore windows when the application is hidden. Parent Cloner will attempt to perform its magic without opening every subfolder but if there is a problem, the utility will switch gears and open every subfolder to process.
- Added the ability to turn off tool tips.
- Solved the issues with adding a dynamic dock menu for restoring Window Sets.
- Added Preference options for using relative dates and calculating all sizes when stacking/tiling windows in list view.
- A version checking routine from the Preferences allows you to download the latest version of FWM right from the application.
- Fixed a bug that prevented Parent Cloner from running if the warning had been disabled via the preferences.
- Significant interface changes so that the progress bar, About window, and Preferences are attached to the main window. The “Cycle Windows” and “Precisely Position” windows maintain their previous behaviors as stand-alone windows.
- Added keyboard equivalents in the “Cycle Windows” and “Precisely Position” windows. In “Cycle Windows” “<” moves to the previous window and “>” moves to the next window. In the Precisely Position window: Command-Option-J = left, Command-Option-K = right, Command-Option-I = up, Command-Option-M = down.
- Modified the “Cycle Windows” window layout.
- “Cycle Windows” & “Precisely Position” utility windows are set to always be visible (when the respective utility is being run) even if the rest of the app is hidden.
- Improved error dialogs.
- Augmented help text.
- Various other minor interface tweaks, code optimizations, and bug fixes.
- New icons.
- v1.5.2 - Released August 29, 2003
- Added progress window for Creating New Set, Stacking, & Tiling open windows.
- Modified the progress window Stop button to allow cancelling at all times.
- Added a Preference option to disable the Parent Cloner warning.
- Added a Preference option for the offset of stacked windows.
- Fixed a bug where closing the current Finder window while running Precisely Position or Cycle Windows would raise an error.
- Added more Help text.
- Minor bug fixes & code optimizations.
- v1.5.1 - Released August 26, 2003
- Fixed a bug where the Window Sets list in the main window was not updated when a Set was deleted during a restore because all of its windows were removed (due to the component folders having been moved, renamed, or deleted).
- Fixed a bug where FWM wouldn’t quit when the main window was closed and the Help drawer was open.
- Added a new Dock menu to create, restore, or run any of the Utilities. The restore feature from the Dock is less than ideal and will be updated soon (hopefully) to allow direct selection of the Set to restore from the menu alone (it currently brings up a dialog to choose the Set to restore—not a huge improvement over activating the FWM and choosing from the main interface).
- Added more keyboard equivalents for restoring the first 9 Sets (Command-1 restores Set 1, Command-2 restores Set 2, etc.). This is an alternative to using the up and down arrow keys to traverse the Sets list and using Command-R, simply double-clicking the Set name, or using the “Restore” button or the Dock menu.
- Added a Stop button to the progress bar and more descriptive progress messages.
- Added more options for the Parent Cloner offsets and stack/tile icon/list view icon sizes in the Preferences.
- Implemented a trial period timeout. You can now only use FWM for 7 days before you must register the application to continue using it. I debated long and hard about this but, unfortunately, while FWM has been received with terrific enthusiasm, the number of registrations compared to the number of downloads has been dishearteningly small (less than 0.01% of downloads have been registered). I hope to continue to improve FWM but without financial incentive, it is difficult to justify further development.
- v1.5 - Released August 21, 2003
- Completely revamped the interface and added a more professional distribution package. FWM is now a full Cocoa-based application with interface features that enhance the usability of the application. New window controls for Precisely Position Front Window and Cycle Windows as well as built-in help, true progress bars, and a host of other features make FWM a much more powerful application.
- Added the ability to sort windows by their names when stacking or tiling. See the Preferences to set this option.
- Augmented the online help system.
- Added many hotkeys.
- Resolved long-standing issue related to stack/tile arrangements closing a window and then not being able to create a reference to the container window of the target of the closed window.
- Still more minor code optimizations.
- v1.2.4 - Released August 4, 2003
- Fixed a major bug when using FWM with non-folder windows open in the Finder (i.e., Get Info windows, clipping windows, Copy or Trash progress windows, etc.) FWM would error when trying to include these windows in Window Sets or when performing utilities such as Stack or Tile while these windows were open. FWM now more gracefully handles the existence of these windows.
- Added a sort routine to always keep your Sets sorted by alphanumeric order. To force a Set name to “bubble up” to the top of the list, add a numeric prefix such as “01-” to your Set name. To retroactively add a prefix, go to “Manage Window Sets”, select the Set you want to modify, and choose “Rename.”
- Fixed a minor bug when updating a window’s position when using Precisely Position Front Window.
- Added the ability to choose the offset when setting horizontal or vertical position when using Precisely Position Front Window (previously it was 1 pixel increments only).
- Added optional progress notifications to Parent Cloner (see Preferences).
- Fixed a bug where Parent Cloner subfolder width and height preferences were not sticking.
- Still more minor code optimizations.
- v1.2.3 - Released July 29, 2003
- Fixed a bug in the Parent Cloner utility when the width and height of subfolders are set to “Zoomed to Contents”. In previous versions, this worked fine but when the code was optimized to improve speed by performing the Parent Cloner operations offscreen, this broke the ability to zoom to contents. Parent Cloner still processes subfolders offscreen unless the width and height are set to “Zoomed to Contents” in which case they are set onscreen and properly zoomed.
- v1.2.2 - Released July 28, 2003
- Fixed a bug that caused an error if the target folder of a window in a Window Set was deleted prior to restoring the Window Set. Now, if a folder has been deleted or renamed and the Window Set is restored, the user is notified that the folder no longer exists and the folder is removed from the Set.
- Some minor code optimizations and interface tweaks.
- v1.2.1 - Released July 21, 2003
- Fixed a very minor bug that erroneously reports there were errors on the first launch when the preference file isn’t found (it can’t be found because on the first launch it hasn’t been created yet).
- v1.2 - Released July 21, 2003
- Created external preference file so Window Sets and other preferences are retained even if you have to reinstall or upgrade. (Delete the FWM Preferences file from “~/Library/Preferences” to remove all Window Sets and return the preferences to their defaults.) Also added a utility to import Window Sets and preferences from earlier versions of the application (earlier than v1.2). This utility should be run before you delete your old version of FWM. After the utility has been run, you may safely delete the old version of FWM. Subsequent upgrades (v1.2+) will not require you to run this utility—your Sets and preferences will automatically be recognized by new versions.
- Changed the window references so that FWM refers to windows by ID and not by index. In previous versions of Precisely Position Front Window and other utilities, if you happened to click on the Finder and made another window the active window, the utility would start modifying the newly active window thinking it was the original yielding unexpected and unwanted results. This has been corrected.
- Removed the “Delete Window Set” option from the main menu and added a “Manage Window Sets” option to rename or delete Window Sets (this results in a more manageable main list and eliminates accidental deletion of Sets).
- Made sure user can’t select Label Column for the Tile or Stacked List View Sort Column preference. (Apple left this preference in but didn’t make it active. Every window has a Label Column but it can’t be shown—well, it can via AppleScript but just with the Finder preferences, it can’t—so it has been suppressed when giving users a choice for sort columns.)
- Fixed a bug where setting the sort column in the preferences for either “Stack Open Windows and set to List View” or “Tile Open Windows and set to List View” to a column whose view is hidden caused all windows to be closed and not re-opened.
- Fixed a bug where icon positions were overridden if a window was not set to “Keep Arranged By...” (may still override icon positions in Mac OS 10.1—a bug in that version of the Finder).
- Changed the behavior of Parent Cloner to set the properties of windows offscreen. This speeds processing time significantly. Also changed the maximum depth level of subfolders to process from 5 to 9.
- In some instances, the Tiled or Stacked Item View Sort Order preference is not updated properly in the actual Finder windows. FWM tries to handle this more gracefully (with moderate success).
- Added direct link from main screen to send comment, request, or bug report via email.
- Added Error Reporter: When you quit FWM, if there were errors at any time during your session, you’ll receive a notice asking if you’d like to send an email to the author reporting the errors. This report is an email that is created in your default email application. You can review the report and add additional comments before sending. No personal information is contained in the email unless you add it.
- Other minor interface tweaks.
- v1.1.2 - Released July 19, 2003
- Now correctly handles windows whose target is the computer (i.e., windows in column view with nothing selected).
- Fixed Cancel item bugs in Precisely Position Front Window utility.
- Made the Registration Code persistent for all upgrades (future upgrades are free for life).
- v1.1.1 - Released July 18, 2003
- Added a confirmation for the “Delete Window Set” command.
- More minor interface tweaks.
- v1.1 - Released July 16, 2003
- Added Parent Cloner utility.
- Corrected some minor interface issues, quashed some minor bugs.
- v1.0 - Released July 15, 2003
Copyright © 2011 JNSoftware LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Mac, Macintosh, Mac OS X, Finder, and AppleScript are trademarks of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
All other products mentioned are copyright of their respective owners.
No endorsement of or affiliation with any third-party product or service is implied.
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