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date 28.Feb.2021

■ xplorer² major upgrade version 5.0 — codename Big Apple

After long exhausting windows file management ideas, the latest and greatest (metaphorically and literally, as the source code just burst through the 9MB barrier) xplorer² borrows some good ideas from Mac Finder™, Apple computers' file manager. Although Macs are usually form over function, I hope you will like the new Column view mode and the quick access list. Is this xplorer² or Finder? Just an emulation :)

xplorer2 emulation of Mac Finder

xplorer² impression of Mac Finder

Here are the big features added in v5.0. For more details see the changelog and the updated documentation.

1. Miller columns. Finder's column mode, aka Miller columns of the old NeXT computers, is like tabbed browsing, allowing you to see many neighboring folders simultaneously. Perhaps it's similar to locked tabs mode, where you click on a folder and a new pane opens up to browse the contents. You can navigate panes easily with the keyboard or mouse, and copy/drag items to relocate them to nearby folders. Click on the demo video to the right to understand what it does.

All the existing browsing modes in xplorer² are still supported so you can have dual panes, tabs and Miller columns. Each tab can have its own set of Miller columns. The active folder in each set is the one you work with, used for dual pane comparisons etc. You can tweak many options, including the maximum number of side-by-side folders using the Advanced settings editor (Tools > Advanced options menu)
miller columns video
quick access list video   2. Quick access list. You will find this both in Mac Finder and Windows Explorer, and now in xplorer² too. The complete hierarchy tree is full of folders you don't use or need; the quick access list (QAL) is a focused mini-tree that contains only the folders you mostly use. It shows some frequently used folders to begin with, but you can put there whatever you like using drag-drop. You can rename and delete items in the QAL without affecting the real folders. You can even put network items in there and xplorer² shouldn't be too slow starting up. Functionality almost identical to the old miniscrap pane really, but I digress.

When inserting a new folder in the QAL be careful to drop it inbetween existing folders (you will see a horizontal insertion mark), otherwise you'll end up moving the new folder inside the one existing in the QAL! For safety you can drag-drop new folders using the right mouse button, so if something goes wrong you can cancel the drop.
3. Mouse peek. What do you get when you hit <SpaceBar> in Finder? A big pop-up preview of the selected item. xplorer² apes this mode either using the keyboard (<ALT+Q> keys) or pressing both left and right mouse buttons together. Then let go of the mouse (or press any key) and the preview is gone. Peek preview really makes the docked quick preview panel a waste of space!

Peek preview is similar to the draft quick preview tab, set in large popup mode. It will show images and plain text only (including text extracted from DOC/PDF/XLS documents). For music/video and exact (formatted) document preview you can continue using the Native preview tab of the old quick previewer pane. Advanced options editor allows you to choose the peek preview size as a percent of your monitor.
peek preview video

Apart from these Mac-inspired features, we've been working hard for this update, offering you lots of smaller but useful features and improved performance, to name but a few:

I always say that xplorer² is not an oil painting, but along with version 5 programming I did a mini face-lift of the website, added a new introductory main video and better snapshots for xplorer² (long overdue really).

Upgrade information

A little over 3 years since the last paid upgrade, version 5.0 is for better or for worse a paid-for upgrade. Everyone will need to obtain a new unlock key for v5.0, but many people will get it for free or with a discount. This time the upgrade is more clement allowing all customers with a valid 4.x key the 30% discount, dropping the old callous 2-year limit. Effectively purchases up to 4 years ago will get the discount.

The upgrade process is as painless as can be; you just try to purchase a new key then xplorer² should guide you in case you are entitled to a free or discounted upgrade. Here are a few possibilities:

The upgrade will be easier if you install v5.0 over your existing one (in the same folder), so xplorer² can recognize you have an older valid license file in there. Alternatively you can upgrade semi-automatically using this form — but you'd need to dig up that email with your full unlock key.


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