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Here's what I do know: I can click to select a file I can click SHIFT to select a range I can use COMMAND to add or subtract from and existing selection I can select by clicking on an empty space and dragging.

However, I'd like to know if there's a way to start a drag-select by clicking and dragging over files, not over an empty space. I'd like to drag over a file to select it and other files in its vicinity, not to move the file around. I imagined I could do that by clicking OPTION or COMMAND while starting a selection over files, but that didn't work.

Is there a way to achieve that natively or by using a plugin?


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There is no way to achieve this in Finder.

Other than e.g. on Windows, on OS X you can initiate element drags without having them selected first, just by pressing the mouse button down. This is the behavior in all applications (even Java-based).

Both Option and Command are used to modify drag behavior: Command forces move (e.g. to another volume), while Option forces copy.

In OS X Lion, the selection behavior changed a little though: Selection of multiple ranges is no longer possible using a drag, AFAIK. Starting with the second part, you need to select the first file of the second range, then release Command, press Shift, and select the last file of that range.

You still have the option to initiate the drag over an empty space (e.g. just next to the icon, or between icon and label, in icon view), or non-filename columns in list view. Since these are plenty, there's probably no sufficient reason for Apple to implement the behavior you want here.

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