Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As a Windows user in previous life, I kind of miss moving files using just keyboard.

Is this possible with in Mac OS X?

Edit: Related problem is navigating in finder using just keyboard without that this really hard. You open two windows using mouse then use keyboard is just the same as using mouse

share|improve this question
Move as in between two folders? There must be a copy+paste function right? – Ivo Flipse Sep 25 '09 at 10:45
After some looking I fear it won't exist (unless hacked) – Ivo Flipse Sep 25 '09 at 10:48
Copy+paste yes, but that's copy, not move. I'm not at all sure if can you do cut+paste... – Jonik Sep 25 '09 at 10:48
Looks like answer is NO :-) , With finder it is not possible! – nexneo Sep 26 '09 at 7:13

10 Answers 10

up vote 35 down vote accepted

I'm answering my own question but Mac OS X Lion has it now finally. in Lion, if you hold Option when pasting a copied Finder item (Command-Option-V), it really does move it. (via

share|improve this answer

OS X does not allow that. It's an Apple Design question. They don't believe in the metaphor of "cutting" something, no matter how much we (users) believe in it.*1
So we are left with what others can come up with. And a lot of them did.

Do it with a macro in QuickSilver (which, once you know it, you wouldn't want to live without anymore anywayz):

Do it with the Context Menu (QuickAccessCM):

Do it with a droplet (nothing I'd suggest since it uses the mouse as well):

Do it by replacing the finder as a whole: (Pathfinder)

I've gone the QuickSilver way, since I am a keyboard junkie and QuickSilver ... well, everything and the kitchen sink.

*1 Except that since OS 3.0 on iPhone even Apple offers a "Cut" option. I still hope - after decades of waiting - that it will finally be available in a Desktop OS as well...

share|improve this answer
"Cut" is always available for Text editing on most Mac apps designed by Apple. So they believe in "Cut", I guess. – nexneo Apr 19 '11 at 13:28
we're talking about files here. not text. – Wolf Apr 28 '11 at 12:30
read your answer you said They don't believe in the metaphor of "cutting" something, no matter how much we (users) believe in it." – nexneo May 1 '11 at 10:16
I have answered in the context of the question. It asks "Move files using just keyboard in Mac Finder ?". I wonder why it is so important for you to point that out and lecture me about something, I haven't said. I'm sorry if I haven't answered your question to your satisfaction. I was only trying to help. Now I am sorry I did. – Wolf May 4 '11 at 11:59

Cmd-X doesn't work on files by default. You can enable it by executing

defaults write AllowCutForItems 1

in a terminal. But all it does it is just moving the file to trash.

As someone said before you can move files with Cmd+dragNDrop (or just drop&drag :)), but you need mouse to do that. Maybe there are some scripts that copies&paste and then deletes the original file? I dunno.

You may want to look for a 3rd party software, something that is equivalent to Total Commander or something like that...

share|improve this answer

use CMD + C to copy use CMD + V to paste


use CMD + ALT + V to Move (equivalent of cut and paste)

share|improve this answer

I suspect that you want a Finder solution, and others have written about that, but...

You can do hand-on-the-keyboard manipulation of the filesystem at the command prompt (either using or an xterm). All the usual unix tools are availible, and in particular files are moved with

mv <current path>  <destination path>

where both paths may be either relative or absolute. If the destination is a directory (folder) the file will be put in the destination, otherwise the file will be renamed.

share|improve this answer
This is not mac specific. Its unix shell – nexneo Sep 27 '09 at 10:04
@nexneo, what do you mean with your comment? – Arjan Sep 27 '09 at 18:48
@Arjan, using command line is an option but no GUI. Its unix shell that does it. That is not mac specific interface, can be done that way in any posix compliant OS. And my question was "How to do that with Finder? " Not other application :) certainly not Non-GUI – nexneo Sep 27 '09 at 19:41
::looks at the title, then looks at the edit history, finally blushes:: When I wrote this I'd been perusing the existing answers and must have forgotten the title. I was thinking only in terms of a hands on the keyboard solution. It happens. – dmckee Sep 27 '09 at 22:05

Cut and Paste for Finder is a couple of AppleScripts that appears to do the job. You'll need another add-on like Keyseer from here to associate the scripts with a key combination.

share|improve this answer

Cmd+` will cycle Finder windows.

Use the arrow keys to scroll up and down. Use Cmd+Up to go up a level.

Regular clipboard shortcuts (Cmd+X, C, V) to cut, copy, and paste.

Another useful shortcut is Cmd+Shift+/ (Cmd+?), which will let you navigate the menu bar with the keyboard.

More here:

share|improve this answer
Like noted in earlier answers: Cmd-X won't work. The official shortcut to get to the menu bar is Ctrl-F2 (but invoking help using Cmd-? and then moving left works as well indeed). – Arjan Sep 25 '09 at 12:09
Thanks for Ctrl+F2 -- I didn't know about that one! – i-g Sep 27 '09 at 23:39
Or map Caps Lock to the menu‌​, like I did (self link). – Nathaniel Aug 27 '11 at 14:15

I know this post is long over and has been answered for Lion users. But as a Snow Leopard user, the option key does not facilitate a move. The best solution I can think of is to use the copy and paste function, and then navigate back to the copied file and use Cmd+Delete to then remove the file.

This to me seems like an excessively long way around the problem, especially if the paths between the containing folders are somewhat far apart.

share|improve this answer

When i started using Mac OS X, i used this website

Copy and Paste files Cmd-C, then Cmd-V
Move a file instead of copying. (Copies the file to the destination and removes it from the original disk.) Cmd-Drag file to disk

share|improve this answer
How do you do Cmd-Drag using just keyboard (see the question)? – Jonik Sep 25 '09 at 10:50
Another problem is navigating in finder using just keyboard – nexneo Sep 25 '09 at 11:18
@nexneo, I agree. For me it helped when I finally learned about Cmd-O (for opening e.g. subfolder) – Jonik Sep 25 '09 at 11:20
Okay. after some research I found. Cmd+[ and Cmd+] shortcuts to for navigation. But still move seems like mouse only operation – nexneo Sep 25 '09 at 11:24
If you use column view, you can pretty much navigate using only the arrow keys (and, occasionally, command). – Benjamin Dobson Sep 26 '09 at 18:41

It's probably not the answer you want but you can actually do this using the keyboard, by enabling mouse keys in the universal access pref pane.

For example to drag a file to a window that was to the left, you would press Alt five times, then Fn-M, then hold down Cmd-Fn-U until you are in the right place, then Cmd-Fn-. and you have Cmd dragged your file. Then press Alt five times again to turn off mouse keys.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .