I've recently moved to the Mac from Windows as my primary machine. One feature I'm really missing is the ability to quickly navigate between folders. I used to do this under Windows by copying the path from one Explorer window and pasting it into a file open/save dialog or another Explorer window.

I can't work out anyway of doing this with the Finder and am getting frustrated by the reduced efficiency of navigating the interface. The best I've been able to do is make Finder show the path on a window, but that still doesn't let me copy and paste it into a dialog.

I did try the app Path Finder but that doesn't seem to do it either and also doesn't seem to integrate with the file open/save dialogs.

Does anyone know if this is a possibility or another way I can more easily navigate around?

10 Answers 10


FileUtils is a contextual (right-click) finder plugin that, among other things, allows one to copy the path of items to the clipboard.

file utils

Then you can press command-shift-G to have a "Go to folder" dialog appear where you can paste. This shortcut works in any standard open/save dialog on the Mac.


You can also drag a folder to the open/save dialogs (so the cursor has a green + symbol), which will change the dialog to that folder. This also works with the little icons in the Finder window title bar (called "Proxy icons" often), and is probably going to be faster than copy-pasting paths.

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  • Doesn't work anymore on Lion. – Xorty Jan 21 '12 at 20:23
  • This had me excited but apparently is only supported on PowerPC. – Echilon Jun 24 '12 at 9:30
  • Whats a powerPC? – Jamie Hutber Mar 13 '18 at 12:18

This may not directly answer your question, but I find these useful:

  • You can drag and drop the folder icon next to the folder name in the Finder. You can drop it in an Open/Save dialog
  • Command-click the icon in the Finder window to get a list of all the folders "up" the tree
  • Enable the Path Bar (in the view menu)

And you might find this a good page describing how best to use the Finder. In general, I think that it's best to not treat it like the Windows Explorer. It can do much of the same stuff but it does work differently.

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  • 3
    +1 Finder != Windows Explorer. OSX != Windows. New Mindset. New Ideas. – BinaryMisfit Aug 6 '09 at 10:10
  • Really, regarding open/save dialog? I bet that works only on real Cocoa apps, though. +1 anyway, I this is new to me. – Dan Rosenstark Apr 3 '10 at 17:03
  • @BinaryMisfit To me it seems that Finder is simply inferior to Windows Explorer in this respect. – Miscreant Jun 28 '17 at 16:31
  • New ideas are not necessarily better. UI features are not worth much if they're not easily discoverable. Thanks Stephen for pointing out these features. (The link to how to use the Finder is broken, though... 10 years later!) – LarsH Nov 8 '19 at 17:23

Typing a / character into the Open and Save dialogs displays a dialog to enter a path.

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Drag a file or folder into terminal and the path appears.

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  • 1
    Why didn't I know that? – Dan Rosenstark Apr 3 '10 at 17:03
  • 3
    This is a very slow option. Keyboard is almost always faster for such things. – nimcap Jun 4 '11 at 15:01

I'm the curmudgeonly old unix guy on a mac.

I spend most of my time in Terminal (or shells within Emacs). If there's something I want to look at in Finder, I type "open ." which opens the current directory in Finder.

There's also some magic you can do with the column view. See How to Quickly Navigate Column View for a description and video.

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  • this is the opposite of what the question was looking for – Ken Liu Feb 18 '10 at 23:56
  • @KenLiu It's not answering the question title, but the OP did ask "or another way I can more easily navigate around". – LarsH Nov 9 '19 at 17:19

By far the easiest way I have found is to right click on the folder/file that you wise to copy the path from and hold the command key whilst still holding right click down. You will see in the context-window a new option: Copy (item name) as Pathname

So to recap Right Click + OPTION

enter image description here

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  • Not sure if you meant to hold Command key or Option key down. For me, neither works: only the Ctrl key + Right click opens a menu. And the only option there is to copy the file name, not the whole path, even though it says "Pathname." – LarsH Nov 8 '19 at 17:28

You can try pasting your path on the address bar of Safari and this will open up the directory for you. (as long as it exists.). Just make sure to precede your path with "file:///". i.e "file:///Users"

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Try muCommander, it's a free cross platform file manager (OSX, Windows, Linux) with dual panes displaying the folder path above each pane which can be copied, or right click a file and select "Copy Path".

Used in conjunction with the command-shift-G "Go to folder" in dialog boxes and you're back to quickly navigating between folders.

(ps. works in Lion)

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Default Folder X allows you to "command up/down" arrow from within open and save dialogue windows to the last several locations accessed. It's brilliantly fast and I get extremely frustrated when I switch to a Mac that doesn't have it. --really should be incorporated into the OS by now...

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  1. Get path name: right click then press option to show 'copy [file or folder] as pathname'

then 2. cmd+shift+G for 'go to folder, paste the path there. BOOM

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