GrandPerspective is a small utility application for Mac OS X that graphically shows the disk usage within a file system. It can help you to manage your disk, as you can easily spot which files and folders take up the most space. It uses a so called tree map for visualisation. Each file is shown as a rectangle with an area proportional to the file's size. Files in the same folder appear together, but their placement is otherwise arbitrary.
25 Aug 2012 GrandPerspective 1.5.1 has been released and is available for download. It features two minor improvements both requested by users. Firstly, the ability to report file sizes with a decimal base. Secondly, the ability to copy the path of a selected item to the paste board. Also included is a minor bug fix. Check out the release notes for details.
30 Apr 2012 GrandPerspective 1.5.0 has been released and is available for download. It features much requested new functionality: the ability to color files based on their creation time, modification time, or time of last access. It's funky and useful. Check out the newly added screenshots. For other improvements and bug fixes included in this release, check out the release notes.
27 Mar 2012 GrandPerspective 1.3.4 has been released and is available for download. After nearly two years of little development activity a new version is released! It includes various minor improvements requested by users and a few bug fixes. Check the release notes to see exactly what has changed.
30 Apr 2011 GrandPerspective has been downloaded more than 500.000 times! I never expected that to happen when I released the first version over five years ago. I should apologize though for the recent lack of activity on the GrandPerspective front. I have simply been too busy with too many other things. All good though, no worries.
24 May 2010 GrandPerspective 1.3.3 has been released and is available for download. It fixes two memory leaks (a large and a small one) and attempts to solve the crashes that some users have reported. It may fix the problem, but if not it will help in tracking the cause, as it generates additional logging to Console.
17 Apr 2010 GrandPerspective 1.3.2 has been released and is available for download. Inspired by recent feedback, I have added some new functionality. There are now three rescan actions to choose from. Also included are some minor fixes and improvements. Check the release notes to see exactly what has changed.
13 Mar 2010 GrandPerspective 1.3.1 has been released and is available for download. It contains only a few minor fixes and improvements compared to the previous version. However, I expect I will not be able to spend any time over the next few months to further develop the application so I thought I'd better make the recent improvements available now. Check the release notes to see exactly what has changed.
17 Jan 2010 GrandPerspective 1.3.0 has been released and is available for download. It significantly improves the way filters and masks can be used. Details can be found in the release notes.
26 Sep 2009 GrandPerspective 1.1.0 has been released and is available for download. It includes many minor improvements. Just read the release notes for details.
15 Aug 2009 Another milestone reached, GrandPerspective has been downloaded over 250.000 times! The application also recently passed the one thousand iusethis users threshold.
9 Aug 2009 Okay, it has been a bit quiet on the GrandPerspective front lately, as I was busy with too many other things. However, I just started working on the code again, so there is a new release on the horizon. I can't make any promises though about its release date yet.
22 Dec 2008 Christmas has come early this year. Carefully crafted over a period of three years, preceded by more than a dozen releases, it is finally here: GrandPerspective 1.0. The most striking change is the improved appearance, featuring amongst others a customizable toolbar. On top of that, there have been a bucket load of minor improvements. Download it today to let your year end on a high note! :-)
For the historians amongst you, there are even records of older news.
- Disk usage visualisation by way of tree maps
- Configurable display of views:
- Choice of color mapping schemes. Color files by their:
- file type,
- parent folder,
- top folder,
- level in the folder hierarchy,
- creation time,
- modification time, or
- last access time
- Choice of color palettes
- Configurable mapping by file type
- Optionally view package contents
- Optionally view the entire volume
- Convenient navigation of views:
- Traverse up and down the folder hierarchy
- Select files and folders in the view
- Reveal files and folders in the Finder
- Delete files and folders from the view
- Filter files and folders:
- Construct filter tests based an item's name, path, size, file type, hard-link status, and package status
- Use these filters to:
- Mask files in the view
- Filter files from the view
- Exclude files and folders when scanning a disk
- Filters and filter tests are automatically stored in the user preferences
- Multiple view support:
- Re-scan a view to compare results before and after clean-up
- Twin or duplicate a view for different displays of the same data
- Support for hard-linked files and folders:
- Analyse Time Machine back-ups
- Save results of disk scanning operations:
- Reload and view again at any time
- Save images of views
- Configurable user preferences
- Snappy and responsive GUI:
- Optimized drawing of views
- Drawing and scanning are carried out in background threads
- Small memory and disk footprint
- Fully internationalized:
- Localizations available in English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French and Dutch
- Extensive help documentation
- Available as a Universal Binary
GrandPerspective has been released as Open Source under the GNU General Public License. The official release files are available from the GrandPerspective download area.
The latest release (Version 1.5.1) consists of two files:
- GrandPerspective-1_5_1.dmg (English)
This is the main release file. It contains all you need to run
the application. To install the application, open the disk
image and drag the application icon onto your Applications
folder, or wher'ever you want to put it onto your file system.
Next, run the application by clicking on the icon.
This contains the source code of the application. It consists of
the Objective C source code, as well as various auxiliary files,
such as the nib files that are used to construct the GUI. You need this file if you want to create a localization in a language that is not yet supported.
From Version 1.0 onwards localized versions of GrandPerspective
are released for a subset of releases, those whose second number in
the version string is even.
The latest localized release is:
Subscribe to the GrandPerspective announcement mailing list if you want to be notified about new releases.
You can support GrandPerspective by giving feedback, providing localizations, making a donation, or getting the word out.
If you need support, you should first check the extensive help documentation that comes with the application.
Should that does not help, you can try the Help forum.
You can provide feedback about GrandPerspective in various ways:
GrandPerspective is fully internationalized.
This means that it can be localized to support languages other than English.
I can manage the translation into Dutch, but for any other language, I will need your help.
So, hereby a call for volunteers.
If you want to help out with making GrandPerspective available in your mother tongue, or any other language you speak fluently, find out how you can help.
You can show your appreciation for GrandPerspective and support further development by making a donation.
In order to make a donation you need an account at SourceForge.net, which is a website that provides hosting facilities for Open Source projects.
SourceForge provides developers of Open Source software free of charge web site hosting, file download functionality (with mirrors across the world), mailing lists, source code management systems, bug tracking systems, user forums, etc.
Donations are also handled by SourceForge and they receive a small percentage themselves.
Given the amount of infrastructure that SourceForge provides free of charge, that's more than fair.
Getting a SourceForge account is free, and comes without any strings attached.
So, here's how to make a donation:
- Create a SourceForge account, if you do not already have one.
- Make a donation.
GrandPerspective is certainly not the first of its kind. Tree maps have been around for a while, and their application to file systems is not novel either. A few other disk usage visualisation tools that employ tree maps are:
- Sequoiaview, which is the one I bumped into first, because as it happens it was developed in Eindhoven, which is where I currently live.
- KDirStat and WinDirStat I need to mention, if only because they are also hosted on SourceForge. I haven't tried them though.
- Disk Inventory X is noteworthy because it also runs on Mac OS X.
So, why GrandPerspective? Well, as you may have guessed it's a fun little coding project and I needed to pick something to code on my new Mac Mini. Having said that, it does have a few things going for it. Firstly, GrandPerspective is developed specifically for Mac OS X, which narrows the immediate competition down to Disk Inventory X, as far as I'm aware. Secondly, GrandPerspective has its own way of visualising directory trees. The layout algorithm that is used is simple and effective, but novel to the best of my knowledge. Also, the file rectangles are drawn to be as clear and unobtrusive as possible. Whether you like it or not is a matter of taste, but you've got a choice. Thirdly, GrandPerspective will intentionally be kept as basic as possible. It should do one thing only, and do it well. That means it is a lean and mean application. GrandPerspective's memory requirements and the size it occupies on disk are pretty minimal. For those concerned about disk space, the latter must count for something, right? Finally, it has a cute logo that will enhance anyone's Dock. ;-)
In the limelight
Various web sites have helped to get the word out about GrandPerspective. Thanks to all.
Reviews and recommendations
- iLounge.com: "Our favorite Mac applications for managing hard disks are GrandPerspective and Onyx" (excellent tutorial on the use of filters)
- MacDevCenter.com: "My new favorite little bit of freeware for OS X."
- lifehacker.com: "Download of the day"
- FreeMacWare.com: "This is a great Mac app on principle alone - it's both functional and really cool!"
- MacUser.com: "A really pretty graphical representation. ... Very cool."
- MacUser.com: "GrandPerspective is a welcomed utility in my book"
- MacWorld.com: "With a quick glance at GrandPerspective, I was able to find nearly 9GB of virtual litter on my boot drive."
- PCWorld.com and MacWorld.com: "My favorite tools for finding [space-hogging files and folders you're not aware of] are Eriban's free GrandPerspective and ID-Design's $13 WhatSize."
- cnet.com: "Having a tool like GrandPerspective (another similar tool is Daisy Disk) that will show you the relative size of the files on your disk is a great option to have, and can greatly help you pinpoint whether disk usage is from a problematic log file, duplicate files, or simply having too many files on your disk."
- mac.elated.com: "It's a fantastically quick and intuitive way to find those giant files that are sucking up your disk space."
- CultOfMac.com: "This excellent free application scans your hard disk [...] and measures exactly what's what and how big it is."
- FreeMacAppADay.com: "GrandPerspective is an awesome utility"
- ars technica: "As this screenshot shows, some files are enormous. See that big red blob? That's my laptop's hibernation file."
- Non Coding Region: "One of the coolest free utilities I have used in a while."
- AppYourMac.com: "GrandPerspective is an essential application that will keep your hard drive free of unnecessary files"
- ILoveMacApps.com: "This is a very good application. It does its job perfectly."
- MAC.BLORGE.com: "Another good utility to prep your files and applications for running on a MacBook Air is GrandPerspective."
- TimBomb.net: "I've used other tools, but this one makes it trivial to locate unusually large files as well as unusually large directories with one picture."
- Zolton.org: "Pretty spiffy - eh?"
- it-support.com.au: "GrandPerspective is really a great little application, and one I use on a regular basis when helping my clients tidy up their Apple computers."
- kayray.org: "one of my favorite utilities for OS X"
- DoseMagazine.com: "Great little app for Mac users who have huge hard drives that are... full all of a sudden"
- MacResearch.org: "a very effective way to immediately see what is eating up your file system"
- MacApper.com: "GrandPerspective is great for people who would rather have a visual representation of their hard drives"
- MacTricksAndTips.com: "A great tool for [identifying big files and folders to delete] and I suggest you use it."
- macpassword.com: "It's a fantastically quick and intuitive way to find those giant files that are sucking up your disk space"
- forwheelers.net: Recommends GrandPerspective as a great Mac application.
- APLawrence.com: "A simple and very direct application."
- Jemima's Chevron blog: "I downloaded GrandPerspective on a whim, and ended up finding and deleting about 3 GB of cruft from my hard drive."
- Should've Asked Me: "Very handy for spotting the space-wasters when you're doing spring cleaning."
- I Heart To Blog: "I was astonished to find files I didn't even know existed on my machine!"
- BestBizWare.com: "I really enjoy using this program to see the big picture"
- DavidJDuran.com: "Fortunately, there is a GREAT tool to help you squeeze the most out of your drive, GrandPerspective"
- DavidLowry.co.uk: "Really good way to find big files that you should be rid of"
- gentry i/o: "Ah, finally a visual way to keep the ol' mac hard drive clean..."
- amsys.co.uk: "I'm a big fan of SSD’s. […] The one downside is their size. [...] This is where Grand Perspective comes in handy."
- Aspirations of a [Phronemophiliac]: "Good for rooting out space hogs."
- AaronFreedman.com: "GrandPerspective works very well and is a great aid to cleaning up your hard drive."
- Tim-Mansfield.com: "Check it out. Cool tool."
- RandRambles.com: "a very handy app that I use often."
- TheAppleBlog.com: "It's a great little utility, a must have for your laptop."
- Rhonabwy.com: "This critter is going to be a fairly constant companion..."
- ericholsinger.com: "When I saw the first screenshot on the website, I was ready to look for another option. But, I had second thoughts and tried it out. I'm glad I did. It does exactly what I want."
- macenstein.com: "while true Apple geeks can use terminal to search for space hogs, and the very patient can choose "Calculate Folder Sizes" in Finder [...] this is a much faster, and more fun way to reclaim drive space."
- notebooks.co "GrandPerspective makes it easy to check the what's taking up the space."
- smumacness.co: "what sets GrandPerspective apart is that it is simple, fluid and most importantly, free."
- WakingUpCosts.net: "a nifty freeware application for OS X"
- MacBook.pro and TidBITS.com: "With GrandPerspective it's trivial to see when a couple of very large files are responsible for the disk filling up."
- AppleiGaga.com: "You can change a viewpoint arrangement basement criteria around a pull-down menu in a drawer" (I can only assume (hope) that this article has been generated by an automatic translation from an article in another language)
- www.tuaw.com: "Daily Mac App - July 26 2011"
- isource.com: "Picks of the Week - 2011 Week 34"
- EasyOSX.wordpress.com: "App of the Week"
- MacWorld.com: "One easy way to locate other large files that you can delete, move, or skip when migrating to your MacBook Air is to use a program like the free GrandPerspective."
- techtyrantnews.com: "It's probably one of the most useful applications I have."
- MakeTechEasier.com: "GrandPerspective has a nice live highlighting feature that is actually very helpful with navigation."
- Rocket Matter:
"In one hour, I freed up over 60 GB of space on my hard drive. Thanks so much, Grand Perspective."
- TechnoTell.com: "GrandPerspective is free, entertaining, a quick 733 [KB] download, and may even be useful. What's not to like?"
- MacsInLife.com: "You might also have space-hogging files and folders you're not aware of. My favorite tool for finding them [is] Eriban's free GrandPerspective."
- LUX.ET.UMBRA: "a neat little open source tool for MacOSX."
- Silver Clipboard: "lets you quickly find what's been hogging the most room and causing those scary 'you are about to run out of space' warning messages."
- patchpanel.blogspot.com: "Excellent little program, no doubt! [...] It is also an interesting background generator"
- forgeniuses.com: "Using GrandPerspective I was able to reclaim several gigabytes of space used up by caches, out of control log files and forgotten downloads and back ups that I no longer needed."
- Roumazeilles.net: "Recommended"
- HughMcGuire.net: "The colours are god-awful, but if you want to clean stuff out, it's a great way to find out what [is taken up all the space on your harddrive]."
- BrianRagle.com: "It's a fantastic and aesthetically pleasing way of seeing where your hard drive space is going"
- MarkusZeller.com: "Scanning is really fast, so that you even could scan the root of any mass storage device."
- MichaelVanPutten.com: "[one] of my favorite free OS X applications."
- Karenism.com: "If you don't have it, you should download it now."
- hochit.com: "What a great tool!"
- www.tuaw.com: "Auntie is a huge fan of Grand Perspective."
- Farsong Blog-o-matic: "Great for finding the giant things that just sit there wasting space."
- OgasaWalrus.com: "it is a very useful tool for checking for files hogging space on your Mac."
- MacWork.com: "It's native and really fast."
- leanmac.com: "An easy way to find those huge files and get rid of them fast."
- maccast.com: "if offers a beautiful visual representation of your data"
- appletell.com: "a great, simple tool that allows you to monitor how your hard drive space is being used."
- AppleLinks.com: "quite entertaining"
- NosillaCast: "I don't think any Mac user should be without this program". Listen to the PodCast
- MacTipper blog (Warning: page may crash Safari): "Really nice"
- MacAppGuide: "GrandPerspective really is a great program that allows you to see files that you may have previously forgotten about that are still taking up pointless space" (this is the most informative video of them all)
- BradOFarell: "Coolest Mac program ever"
- themacbookone: "One of the Best apps I have seen"
- MacTipper: "Really, really nice"
- OSX509: "It's a really neat app"
- cjdanilecki: "great application"
- thedevilofpower: "Just get it, it's really good"
- PwnageTutorials: "Those are like little ants" (this is the funniest of them all)
- callsignHUSKER (Warning: also featuring slightly disturbing footage with guns and babes): "It really should be built into the computer. A great way to see everything on your computer."
- jimmyrcom: "The coolest program I have never seen"
- bhd11120: "It's pretty cool. I like it."
- bulbasuar17: "GrandPerspective is a really nice Mac app. [...] I highly recommend that you just don't go deleting random files."
- InstrumentManiac: "Very good program. [...] I have been using it to find where I can save space on my computer."
- giorgio1apple: "It's a very nice app."
- iTalkApple: "Once it's done scanning you get a really cool looking window"
- CBGFilms: "It's a really good application"
- theworldofapple: "When I clean up my harddrive I heavily rely on an application called GrandPerspective"
- machelptips: "It's just a really good application if you want to clean up your computer"
- iMacWorld: "It's a great way to show what you're using and delete the useless stuff"
- Refillkid: "an awesome application"
- gofiltered: "[...] and that is how I use GrandPerspective in order to clean up my harddrive every once in a while"
- davidcallaway: "it helps you locate problem files"
- TheMacOracle: "it's really cool, it shows you what you have"
- WindowsAndMacintosh: "you can actually see how much each program takes up"
- TheTechJoint: "a really visual and cool way to figure out what is taking up the space"
- ZAMtech1994: "this actually saved me about 20GB worth of harddrive space"
- iAppleTalker: "makes a pretty cool desktop background of your whole harddrive, if you're that geeky"
- macwinexpert: "you can use it to find disk space that you do not need"
- ChrisTheAppleOne: "I went from 34GB to 72GB [free space] so that really helped"
- macdemos: "a very clever little application"
- firehydrant3: Various useful tips
- Running GrandPerspective while you sleep: esaruoho describes how to schedule GrandPerspective scans using iCal and Applescript
- The Naked Truth!: Jean Constant has used images generated by GrandPerspective for creating an interesting collection of digital art
- Wikipedia.org - GrandPerspective even has a Wikipedia entry! It's tiny, but still larger than that of Earth in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy :-)
And now... something completely different
Still here? Well, then you might also be interested in checking out other stuff I have made:
Get the grand perspective,
Narrow the field of focus,
Retain a sense of control.
Copyright 2005-2012, Eriban. Last updated: 5 Dec 2012