Table of Contents

24. Expert Settings in NeoFinder

Like so many other Mac applications, NeoFinder has a couple of helpful hidden preferences, These settings can be helpful in certain situations, but we didn't want to overload the Preferences window with all of them.

NeoFinder 8 now has a built-in editor for most of these settings, to make it easier for you to edit them.

However! Please make sure you know what you are doing, as all of these change the inner workings of NeoFinder, and can have unpredicted side-effects you may not be aware of. So better handle them with care.

To open the new Expert Settings Editor, hold down the "alt" key while selecting the NeoFinder menu. The regular Preferences menu item will change to Expert Settings, and that is what you are here for.

Expert Settings

Alternatively, use the macOS command line Terminal with the commands provided below: First quit NeoFinder. Then open Apples, and type or copy the proper commands from here. The changes are written to a preferences file named "de.wfs-apps.neofinder.plist" in your Preferences folder, and they are recognised after the next launch of NeoFinder.


XMP in MP4 files?
Some video MP4 files can have an Adobe XMP record stored internally. Unfortunately, when cataloging video files, searching for that data inside of MP4 files is really slow, so by default, NeoFinder doesn't try that.

If you have movie files that contain internal XMP records, and you need to use them in NeoFinder, you can ask for them. Please note that this will slow down cataloging of large video files in the formats .mp4, .m4v, and .avi.

Starting with NeoFinder 7.8, this option is also required to be able to set the GPS GeoTag in MP4 video files, as that data is actually only stored in an internal MP4-XMP record. So for NeoFinder to set the GPS data, NeoFinder must able be able to catalog that internal XMP data.

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder catalogInternalMovieXMP 1

The default is 0

Please note that after changing this value, you will need to Update existing catalogs, using the "Recreate thumbnails" option in the movies section of the NeoFinder
cataloging settings, so that NeoFinder will be forced to read the metadata even from unmodified files.

Ignore XMP thumbnails?
Some PDF or Adobe Illustrator files have thumbnails embedded in the XMP record. Normally, NeoFinder reads those thumbnails and uses them, because it is much faster to use them instead of interpreting the entire complex document.

But if these XMP thumbnails are too small or blurry for you, you can ask NeoFinder to ignore the XMP thumbnails:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder ignoreXMPThumbnails 1

The default is 0

Catalog password protected Disk Images (.dmg)?

NeoFinder now automatically skips all password protected disk image files (file types .dmg, .sparseimage, and .sparsebundle) during cataloging, to keep the process from being interrupted. If you have all passwords for these disk images stored in your system keychain, you can ask NeoFinder to try to catalog the content of these disk images anyway:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder readProtectedDMG 1

The default is 0

Catalog folder icons
You can set your own folder icons in macOS, and NeoFinder is able to catalog them into your database. However, as Apple has forgotten to add a flag that tell applications like NeoFinder if such a custom icon has been set to a folder, NeoFinder needs to try to load one for every folder it catalogs.
Which is incredibly slow on most server volumes, especially if you have a lot of folders.

For performance reasons, NeoFinder no longer automatically tries to read these folder icons.

You can ask NeoFinder to do that anyway, at the cost of a slower performance when cataloging server volumes:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder catalogFolderIcons YES

The default is NO

Get these app icons for me!

By default, NeoFinder only catalogs icons of folders if the Cataloging of photo previews is enabled. If you need these icons but don’t want the photo thumbnails, run this command here in

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder catalogALLFolderIcons YES

Calculate bundle sizes?
To massively speed up cataloging, NeoFinder will not calculate the folder sizes for “bundles” or “packages”.

This process is very time consuming. If you do catalog the contents of the bundles, or packages, NeoFinder walks through all files and folders in the bundle anyway.

But if you select to Ignore Package Contents in the Cataloging Preferences, until now, NeoFinder did still go through all files and folders to gather their total size. No more. NeoFinder will now report back a size of 0 for bundles, if you chose to ignore their content.

If you totally must have all package sizes anyway, you can ask NeoFinder to do this time consuming calculation by running this in

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder getBundlesSizes YES

The default, of course, is a value of
NO for this. Again, if you turn this option on, it will slow down cataloging considerably. Only do it if you really need it.

Read OpenMeta tags
Long before Apple had added Finder Tags to the file system and Finder, the OpenMeta group had already created a standard to add this helpful metadata to your files and folders. NeoFinder catalogs both values for you, but as there are no real tools available to edit OpenMeta Tags anymore, this can be confusing.

For this reason, you can now ask NeoFinder to ignore the OpenMeta Tags, while still cataloging the "normal" macOS Finder Tags, if you need them.

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder readOpenMeta NO

The default is YES

Ignore iView CatalogSets?

NeoFinder will catalog the iView CatalogSets XMP data when cataloging photos or videos. NeoFinder will then automatically re-create Albums and Album Groups based on that data, and place the files in there for you. That makes the transition from iView so much easier.

You can turn off this feature:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder IgnoreCatalogSets YES

The default is NO

Are JAR archives ZIP archives?
Per default, NeoFinder ignores .JAR files (Java Archive Files), even though they are actually ZIP files, and the ZIP file reader in NeoFinder could read them:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder JARisZIP 1

If you use 1 as val, NeoFinder will open JAR files to catalog their contents, a val of 0 turns that back off, which is the default.

Catalog of FileType/Creator data
For many years, files on the Macintosh had been identified by a special unique FileType/Creator code. Nowadays, only the fragile file name suffixes are used, but NeoFinder will still try to read existing FileType/Creator data, if it exists. This will also contain the size of the "resource fork", and the information if a file is invisible or not.

Cataloging this data can be incredibly slow on some file systems, like ExFAT, NTFS, and SMB. That is due to the fact that Apple stores that older data in "extended attributes", and the Apple macOS ExFAT driver in particular is absolutely dreadfully slow when reading those.

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder catalogFileTypeCreator 0

If you use 0 as value here, NeoFinder will ignore the old FileType/Creator/ResourceForkSize etc. data for much faster cataloging, a val of 1 turns that back on, which is the default.

Please note that when you change this value and Update an existing catalog, it is possible that NeoFinder may need to update many more files than were actually really modified, due to the possible different file sizes (if you have older image files containing a resource fork).

Thumbnail quality

As a compromise between quality and disk space used, NeoFinder compresses thumbnails for the catalogs as JPG, with a default quality setting of 20 (or 0.2). That gives you nice quality thumbnails and a nice small size.

You can increase the JPG quality of your thumbnails, and also the amount of space they need in your catalog, with this

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder ThumbnailQuality 40

The default is 20

Possible values are from 1, which is extremely poor quality but very small thumbnails, to 100, which gives you the best possible quality, but at the price of very large thumbnail data in your catalogs.

Where to pick up the thumbnail for a video
NeoFinder doesn't simply read the first frame of a video as the thumbnail, as that is often black or really not interesting. Instead, NeoFinder calculates the duration of the entire movie file, and tries to grab a frame at about 20% of the duration. You can change that percentage, of course, with this setting here:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder MovieStillFrame [val]

val is a whole number between 0 and 100, as it is a percentage. 20 would be the default value.

Read more than 256 characters from a text file
You can ask NeoFinder to increase that number with:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder numBytesForTextFiles [val]

Proceed with caution here, as any larger number may increase the catalog files size for a volume too much, hitting the 4 GB border.

With 256, you return to the default and very safe value.

Catalog very large files?

NeoFinder uses a separate helper application to create the thumbnails of most files, to prevent crashes to bring down the entire applications, and also to improve performance. If this helper tool doesn't produce the requested data in less than 60 seconds, NeoFinder assumes that the generation has failed, and proceeds with the next item.

If you catalog very large files on very slow disks, like Blu-ray or DVDs, that may not be enough time, and thus fail to create thumbnails and metadata.

In these cases, you can increase the waiting time (in seconds):

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder crashGuardTimeout 600

The default is 60

Temporary cataloging folder location

For some file types, NeoFinder must generate temporary files during cataloging, such as EPS, Adobe Illustrator, or generally audio files, if you want to generate audio previews.
Also, the collected thumbnails for a new catalog are stored in that folder while the cataloging progresses. After the cataloging is finished, all these files are automatically removed by NeoFinder, of course.

By default, NeoFinder uses the official Temporary Folder provided to use by macOS, as Apple is demanding of well-behaving Mac applications. This hidden folder is usually located on the boot disk of your Mac.

If you start your Mac from a small SSD, for example, you may run out of space there. In that case, you can ask NeoFinder to use a different location for the temporary cataloging data:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder tmpFolder /Path/to/Different/Folder/

Please make sure that this path is written out correctly, and that it is always available during cataloging time.

If that path contains spaces, or blanks, please escape them with a “\ “ instead. Example:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder tmpFolder /Volumes/My\ Disk/Temp\ Folder/

The name of the disk here is “My Disk”, and the name of the folder is “Temp Folder”, so you need to “escape” both blanks with the extra “\” character to prevent error messages.

User Interface

Sort Keywords?
By default, NeoFinder always sorts the XMP Keywords or Finder Tags for a file when they are displayed in the Inspector, because that makes it easier to work with large lists of keywords for files.

If you want to distribute your work to a stock photography site, you must specify the exact order of importance for keywords, so you need to be able to change the order. To do that, you can now turn off the keyword sorting in the NeoFinder Inspector.

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder sortKeywords NO

The default is YES

Display red GPS GeoTag icon
By default, NeoFinder uses a red GPS GeoTag icon to indicate that a photo or video contains a geographic coordinate. You can now turn that feature off, by using

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder showGeoTags NO

The default is YES

Always use XMP "sidecar" files
NeoFinder will write your XMP data into the photo or video, if the file format supports it, currently JPG, PNG, DNG, MOV, and TIFF.
If you want NeoFinder to leave your photo and video files alone, you can now ask NeoFinder to
always use "sidecar" files.

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder alwaysWriteSidecarXMP YES

The default is NO

Can I close the main window of NeoFinder?
Normally, you cannot close the main window of NeoFinder. We tried that once, but got so many questions how to bring the window back afterwards, that we decided to keep it open all the time.

But now, due to popular demand, if you want to close the main window, so be it!

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder CanCloseMainWindow [val]

If val is 1, you can then close the main window. Turn it off anytime with val equals 0.

To show the main window again, don’t ask our support, but use the entry
NeoFinder Library in the Windows menu. ;-)

Search umlauts and accents, too?

The Find engine in NeoFinder is incredibly fast, and hand-tuned for perfect performance. This means that NeoFinder will only find the exact strings as you enter them, except for upper and lower case.

But if you have to consider umlauts and accents, like Régina, Règina, or Rêgina, then NeoFinder can be asked to ignore these “diacritics”, so it can find these strings, regardless of their exact spelling.

Just run this command here in

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder ignoreDiacriticals YES

That will cause NeoFinder to use a different comparison method for all texts.

Please note that this will slow down any search considerably, as these comparisons are very expensive in regards of processing time.

The default value is

Is a Kilo 1000 or 1024?

Starting with version 6.2, NeoFinder uses the same terminology as Apple, and reports a KB as 1000 bytes, not as 1024, as it used to be. If you want to have the old 1 KB == 1024 Bytes terminology back, use this:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder KiloIs1000 NO

That will cause NeoFinder to use the old 1024 for a KB. To stay correct, in that case, NeoFinder will use the term KiB. To return to the new terminology, replace the NO with a YES.

No change, please!

You can ask NeoFinder to prevent any changes made to files or folders on the actual disks. That includes the
XMP editor:

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder NoChangePlease YES

The default is NO

"Open with…" with every single application?

The "Open with" menu quickly gets very long for popular file types, such as text or JPG files. Thus, NeoFinder only adds applications from the startup volume to that list.

If you have your software located on other volumes as well, you can ask NeoFinder to include all known applications in the list, regardless of their location.

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder openWithOnlyLocalApps NO

The default is YES

Always use System Appearance
You can set up which of the currently six different appearances of NeoFinder you wish to use. If you often switch your Mac to Dark Mode, you may wish to have NeoFinder follow these changes, and use the same appearance you use in macOS itself.

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder useSystemAppearance 1

The default is 0

Copy XMP sidecar files along with the media files
NeoFinder will automatically copy the separate XMP sidecar files when you drag a media file from NeoFinder into a Finder window, or use the "Save as…" command. With this option, you can ask NeoFinder to omit the sidecar files.

defaults write de.wfs-apps.neofinder copySidecarFiles NO

The default is YES