On my Mac, I view the contents of my finder windows using list view, as opposed to the icon/gallery/column views.

I've was going through some folders just now, cycling back and forth between two of them to find an article I was looking for when I noticed something strange. For some reason, the font of one folder's list is larger than another folder's list:



As far as I am aware, I've not done anything to change this myself, and I'm not sure why it has happened. Does anyone know what has caused this, and how I might homogenise them again? Now that I've noticed the difference, it's very distracting...

  • Thank you for editing the question, mods! May 2, 2023 at 4:01

3 Answers 3


You might not be able to do this with one single settings change - depending on just how many folders are no longer at defaults.
For comparison, check two or three different folders. the more common setting are most likely to be your usual defaults. It is possible to have different settings remembered for every folder on the Mac, but it's unlikely you've set many differently.
Once you establish your most common, you can then reset your aberrant ones.

Open one or more folders, as you have above.
Hit Cmd ⌘ J or View Menu > Show View Options
You only see one of this window at any time [it's an info sheet known as an Inspector] If you click another folder, the contents change to reflect that window.
In the Inspector window, if you hold Opt ⌥ the 'Use as Defaults' button at the bottom will change to 'Restore to Defaults'.

enter image description here

Default font size is usually 12.
You can, of course, set any values in here to be your new defaults, then save them with 'Use as Defaults'. This affects all windows currently set to default, but not any you have previously customised. This means you can have icon view for apps but list view for documents, etc.

Note: .DS_Store files contain so much more than folder settings & positions. It doesn't really hurt to clear them, but clearing them doesn't always do what you think it will. Resetting individual View options & your Defaults is a much neater solution.


You may have a hidden .DS_Store file in that folder that modifies the display.

To reset the view for a particular window, hold down the Option key and press "Restore to Defaults" in the View options panel.

A more violent solution is to delete all these files everywhere, as in this command (not recommended as easy to make a mistake):

find ~ -name .DS_Store -print -delete 2>/dev/null
  • I've never been sure what those .DS_Store files were (always used to see them when transferring files on a USB between Mac and Windows). Thank you! May 2, 2023 at 3:48

Search for text size (display) in system settings; change size to something other than default; and select use preferred reading size for Finder. This will apply whatever text size you have selected across all of Finder ignoring Finder's own settings.

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