Did you know that the open dialog and save dialog boxes can show you files as icons just like the Finder can? If you are using Leopard, it even shows the icon previews like Finder. If you have trouble finding the right file with the usual list display, this can be very helpful.
This is a regular dialog box for opening a file in Pages - these look pretty much the same in most applications:
I don't know about you, but I find it nearly impossible to find the file I want in this list view - icons are much easier for me.
The first thing you can do is click on the "icon view" button in the top left of the box - I've circled it in red in this picture. Notice how the display changes to icons much more like the Finder's default display:
This display still doesn't show many icons though, so remember that you can drag the bottom right corner to enlarge the window like you can on many other windows:
If icon mode doesn't suit you, you can also use column mode by clicking in the top left corner on the column mode button.
All of these things also apply to the "save" box that pops up when you use "Save As" or try to save a file for the first time.
You'll need to change the settings - for "open" and for "save" - in all the programs you use, but most programs seem to remember the settings between program launches. So if you change the settings in TextEdit, then quit TextEdit, next time you open a file you'll still have your changed settings.
- Ricky Buchanan