Mac users probably know that they can view detailed information about their files and folders by selecting the desired item in Finder and using the keyboard shortcut Command-I (or selecting File > Get Info from the menu bar at the top of the screen).
Doing so will reveal the Info window for the selected item, which displays important information such as the exact file size, the date the file was created and last modified, a preview of its icon or contents, and account sharing and permissions data.
Some Mac users may not know, however, that the Info window can also be used to view the file information for multiple files or folders at once. This lets you not only view common properties between the files, such as permissions, it also lets you quickly see the combined file size of a group of files or folders, which is essential for smart data management.
‘Get Info’ for Multiple Files at Once
Let’s illustrate how this process to use the Info window on multiple files or folders works. For our example, let’s say that I have two folders on my desktop (highlighted by the red box in the screenshot below):
I want to know just how much storage space these two folders are currently occupying. Now, I could select each folder individually, open the Info window, note the total file size, repeat for the second folder, and then add the two sizes together. But that’s tedious with just two folders, not to mention a scenario in which I want to see the combined size of hundreds or even thousands of folders and files.
So, instead, we can select both files together and then use a special form of the Get Info command to view the combined total size. To select multiple files or folders in macOS, you can either click and drag over both items at once using the mouse or trackpad (which is good for just a few items like we have here), or you can use the Command or Shift keys in combination with your mouse or arrow keys. Holding Command and clicking on non-adjacent items will select each one without de-selecting prior items. Alternatively, holding Shift and clicking on items (or using the arrow keys to navigate the list of files) will select the first item plus all adjacent or sequential items after it.
Once all of your files or folders are selected, use the keyboard shortcut Control-Command-I to access the Multiple Item Info window. Here, you can see the total number of selected items as well as their combined file size.
Note the addition of the Control key to our normal “Get Info” shortcut. Alternatively, you can access the same window by selecting your items, holding the Control key on the keyboard, and heading to File > Get Summary Info in the menu bar.
The addition of the Control key is important, as it’s the only way to access the “Summary” view we’re looking for. If you don’t hold the Control key and instead select the standard Get Info, macOS will open an individual Info window for each selected item. As you can imagine, that could get real ugly, real fast.
Assuming that everything worked out, however, you’ll quickly master the Get Info and Get Summary Info commands, allowing you to easily assess the state and size of your Mac’s data and make important decisions about file management and backup strategies.
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