Finder in OS X is good enough file browser for most users, and it holds up enough in terms of features against the Windows 8 File Explorer. For those who would like to have more features in Finder, there is XtraFinder to add them for you. Though if you’d rather not go with an add-on app like XtraFinder and are more interested in a third-party file browser, FileDesk LITE is a free Mac app available in the Mac App Store that can prove to be a good alternative. FileDesk LITE supports tabbed browsing and has a quick launch button for the Launch Pad. The tabbed browsing feature is very intelligent; it remembers your open tabs upon quitting it and can restore them upon launching it again. Folders can be bookmarked and when browsing a particular folder in FileDesk LITE, you can view a complete list of folder within that folder from the app’s left side bar. You can add any folder to the left side bar for quick access. Files can be sorted by name, size, kind and label. The app also shows you previews for many types of files, and a ‘Show enclosing folder’ button allows you to quickly open the parent folder of the item.
FileDesk LITE runs in a single window and you can browse files in a single tab, or open folders across different tabs. When you first launch the app, it asks for permission to read/write to a startup disk. It supports most keyboard shortcuts that you’re used to in Finder. In the top toolbar, there are buttons for going up a folder, opening a new tab, previewing a file, and launching the Launch Pad.
Folders are added to the left side bar by dragging & dropping. Double-clicking a folder will open it in the current tab but if you hold down the Option key while double-clicking it, it will open in a new tab. Tabs can be moved by dragging, pretty much the same way it’s done in web browsers. If you have several images in a folder, you can select an image, hit the space bar and browse through all of them in a full window view.
The left sidebar itself is divided into two tabs: Bookmarks and Folders. Bookmarks give you quick access to folders and the same bookmarks will appear no matter what tab you’re in. The Folders tab lists the other folders present in the current folder for quick navigation and transfers between folders. You can select files in one tab and drag & drop them on to another to move them. By default, FileDesk LITE does not show hidden files, but you can change their visibility from the app’s preferences.
At the bottom of the window, FileDesk LITE has a Path Bar offering breadcrumbs navigation based on your current path; you can double-click any location on this bar to open it in the current tab. FileDesk LITE’s preview function isn’t all that impressive. The app allows you to open a file in Finder and add a label to it from the right-click context menu. For browsing files and managing folders, FileDesk LITE is a very simple and easy to manage app. For more features or complicated requirements, you might want to look at XtraFinder instead.