The Finder is the application that Mac OS X uses to launch and manipulate files and applications. Unlike other tools and applications, the Finder starts immediately after you log in to the system and is always active. (In addition to helping you locate your files, the Finder handles all common tasks , such as creating, deleting, moving, and copying files and folders. We'll save discussion of those functions for the next chapter.) The items on your desktop are identified by little pictures, or icons , that tell you their function. This is one of the great features of a graphical operating system because, as they say, a picture tells a thousand words, or in this case, gives you a fast clue as to what kind of file you're looking at.
Here's a quick look at some of the icons you'll see most often and what they represent:
Figure 2.1. Each icon accesses a specific item or feature.
You can interact with the Finder in several different ways. There's a menu bar for the Finder, but there's also the Finder window, which has several different modes and view options. We'll take a look at the menu system first, and then the basic view options for Finder windows .