How to change names on drives, icons and folders

Over the weekend we received an interesting inquiry at Bob LeVitus Consulting. John (not his real name) asked how to change the label on the icon for a flash drive.

The question is an interesting one. It is not totally clear to me exactly what is being asked. While icons can have labels, I suspect John was asking how to change the name of the drive. Just in case, I will also talk about icon labels at the end of this entry.

If you want to change the name of a drive or a folder or even a file, there are several ways to do this. The most obvious is to click and hold on the name with your mouse. Of course there are several "states" that the icon name could be in.
Over the weekend we received an interesting inquiry at Bob LeVitus Consulting. John (not his real name) asked how to change the label on the icon for a flash drive.

The question is an interesting one. It is not totally clear to me exactly what is being asked. While icons can have labels, I suspect John was asking how to change the name of the drive. Just in case, I will also talk about icon labels at the end of this entry.

If you want to change the name of a drive or a folder or even a file, there are several ways to do this. The most obvious is to click and hold on the name with your mouse. Of course there are several "states" that the icon name could be in.

If an icon is selected, the corners of the name are rounded. In this state, it is not possible to change the name of the icon.



If the icon's name has been selected with a "click and hold" which is sometimes also called a click and a half, the corners of the name are square and the name is colored in the highlight color of the computer. In this state, you can change the name of the icon.



There is another, often easier way to get an icon to this "re-nameable" state. Select the name, then press the Enter key. On an extended desktop keyboard the Enter key is located in the number keypad.



On the keyboard of a portable computer, it is located to the right of the space bar.



On the new wireless keyboard, the Enter key has been replaced with a second Option key and there is no separate Enter key, so the Enter trick for renaming will probably not work.



Let's have one more look at the icon above in its re-nameable state. The whole name is blue. If you begin typing, the whole name will disappear and whatever you type will be filled in. It is not necessary to press the delete key before beginning to type, just begin typing.

If you want to add something to to name, then click again while the name is selected, then a cursor will appear in the word:



While you can use the Left and Right Arrow keys to move forward or backward . . .



you can use the Up Arrow key to move to the beginning of the title or the Down Arrow key to move to the end of the title.

Of course, there is the occasional icon that you cannot rename. However if you look closely, you will probably notice a tiny lock at the lower left edge of the icon:



That means someone used the Get Info command to open the Information window for the item and they clicked the box to lock the item:



Un-check the locked checkbox and you can then re-name the item.

Of course, there are times when you did not intend for an icon to be renamed, and suddenly the name has disappeared. To get it back, press Command Z. That will often undo the last thing you did and the name of the icon should re-appear.

To prevent this renaming from happening, click and hold on the picture part of the icon to move things around on your computer screen. Get into the habit of selecting icons by clicking on the picture instead of on the name.

Now back to John's question. If his question was really about Color Labels for icons, the illustration above shows one way of changing the color label. I will cover more about Color Labels and how to change the icon picture in future entries.

This has been a pretty detailed explanation of how to do a specific task in the Macintosh operating system. If you need help such as this, you might find our tutoring session at Bob LeVitus Consulting to be very helpful. Make a list of your questions and give us a call. Tutoring is booked in one-hour increments and costs $60 per hour. We use our special remote control software to see your computer and we can take control of your keyboard and mouse to show you how to do things.

-- Pat

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