Help! I need to send a folder of photos to a client but don’t know how to calculate how large it is! How do you figure out how big a folder is?
You didn’t say if you’re using a Mac or Windows system, so I’m going to show you how to calculate this figure for both operating systems. There are actually a zillion different ways to solve this, however, one of which is to simply try to drag the folder onto a USB flash drive or similar. If the drive lacks space, the error message is usually of the form “Copying 1.2GB, insufficient space.” and if there is sufficient space on the drive, then it’ll show “Copying 1.2GB” or similar and you’ll again be able to see how big it is.
This is a good shortcut because while you can change your MacOS X system to show folder sizes — and by that I mean the sum size of everything in that particular folder — turns out that Windows 10, at least, makes it impossible to change the File Browser to show you all the folder sizes without using a third-party utility. A weird and inexplicable omission, but don’t fret, there’s an easy way to calculate folder size for your situation anyway!
Let’s start with the Mac because it’s easier to use. Here’s my Pictures folder that has lots of content, including a folder called “• Best Pictures Library”, but has no size indicated in the Finder:
The “–” isn’t very useful, is it? If you’re just interested in a single folder, the fast and easy way is to simply use Command-I to open up the Get Info window (or you can get to it from the menu: File > Get Info… if you prefer):
See the info on the top right? 675.5 MB. It’s also repeated in the General info area, along with the info that it contains 417 items.
If you’d prefer to have all folders show content size in the Mac Finder, that’s slightly more tricky. Type Command-J to pop up this skinny little options window:
Lots and lots of options, but the key choice is highlighted with the red box. Choose “Calculate all sizes” and every folder will have an associated size, as you can see:
I also chose the bigger icons here, which is why it looks a bit different, but notice that Best Pictures Library has its size shown in this regular view!
On the Windows 10 side, it’s easy to figure out for a single folder, but for a bunch, well, that’s a problem. Let’s start with the single folder, though. Here’s a typical File Explorer window:
The View menu choice drops down a small window with lots of options:
Surprisingly, choosing “Details” doesn’t give you the file size. But… choose “Options” (the rightmost choice) then select the “Show File Explorer View Options” item and you’ll get this skinny window:
Choose “Properties” from the very bottom and you’ll open up the Microsoft Windows 10 equivalent of the “Get Info” window from Mac users, as you can see:
And there ya go – in this case, the folder “Desktop Photos” contains 1 file, no subfolders and is 4.96 MB in size.
Between these different options, I hope one will show you exactly what you need to know before you send the folder to your client!