On Windows, pressing Enter when you highlight on a folder in Windows Explorer will open that folder.

Same on Linux.

On OSX, pressing Enter when you highlight a folder edits the folder's name (like F2 on Windows and Linux).

Is there a keyboard shortcut to do the same thing as on Windows, so that you'll open the folder? It doesn't have to be Enter, but I'd like to know if there's another hotkey that does it.

The reason why I ask is because I like to navigate through deep folder structures by using the arrow keys for navigation and Enter to drill down into them.

  • 3
    It's a very stupid design to rename a folder when you press "enter"! Moreover, most of the time (for me almost always) when you select a folder you want to enter the folder, not renaming it. I hope Apple changes it in the future. Mar 3, 2020 at 1:55

1 Answer 1


You can use Command+Down Arrow to open a folder.

  • Command+Up Arrow will take you to the parent folder.
  • Command+Right Arrow or just Right Arrow will expand (toggle the triangle chic) the folder.
  • Command+Left Arrow or just Left Arrow will retract the folder.

Also good to know is Command + any of 1, 2, 3 or 4 will toggle between the different view types (icon, list, columns, cover flow respectively).

  • 8
    Apple+O also opens the highlighted folder. Mar 14, 2010 at 21:57
  • Correct, but he mentioned using the arrow keys extensively, so I went with the arrow keys.
    – Josh K
    Mar 14, 2010 at 22:03
  • FYI: on my MacBook Pro (MacOX X 10.7.3 Mountain Lion), when in list view, RightArrow and LeftArrow expands/retracts a folder, same as Command+RightArrow/Command+LeftArrow
    – aqn
    May 2, 2014 at 17:06

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