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?


12 Answers 12


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.

  • Doesn't work anymore on Lion.
    – Xorty
    Jan 21, 2012 at 20:23
  • This had me excited but apparently is only supported on PowerPC.
    – Echilon
    Jun 24, 2012 at 9:30
  • Whats a powerPC? Mar 13, 2018 at 12:18

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

  • The dialog did open, but I was unable to paste on MacOS 10.15.6 :-( Sep 8, 2020 at 15:38
  • THIS will save me hours of pain using osx's finder. Confirmed working on osx 13.5.1
    – Gunther
    Sep 6 at 0:11

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.

  • 3
    +1 Finder != Windows Explorer. OSX != Windows. New Mindset. New Ideas. Aug 6, 2009 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. Apr 3, 2010 at 17:03
  • 1
    @BinaryMisfit To me it seems that Finder is simply inferior to Windows Explorer in this respect.
    – Miscreant
    Jun 28, 2017 at 16:31
  • 1
    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, 2019 at 17:23

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

  • 1
    Why didn't I know that? Apr 3, 2010 at 17:03
  • 4
    This is a very slow option. Keyboard is almost always faster for such things.
    – nimcap
    Jun 4, 2011 at 15:01


  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

  • Easiest way. Thanks! +++ This should be the accepted answer
    – Martin
    Feb 18, 2021 at 16:05

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 Option 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


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.

  • this is the opposite of what the question was looking for
    – Ken Liu
    Feb 18, 2010 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, 2019 at 17:19
  • It is asking about copying and pasting. And pasting (and going to) a folder is the non-obvious part...
    – Martin
    Feb 18, 2021 at 16:12

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"


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)


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...


I hope this helps:

  1. Open the Save as dialog
  2. Open the destination folder where you want to save the file in Finder. Copy folder pathname
  3. Go back to the Save as dialog. Press Shift Command G. Paste the path into the field and Enter --> This folder will appear in the Save as dialog
  • 1
    Welcome to SuperUser! How is this better than the accepted answer? Sep 29, 2022 at 8:48

There are multiple ways to achieve what you want. Choose the one that fits you best.

To open a folder in another Finder from within Finder

  1. right-click on the folder
  2. select Open in new tab OR press (option) and select Open in new window

To obtain the path of a folder or file

  1. right-click on the folder or file
  2. press (option) and select Copy as path name

To copy a path to the open dialog of an app (the Windows way)

  1. obtain path name as described before
  2. in the open dialog, hit the / (forward slash) to open a path window
  3. paste the path name (unfortunately, it seems you have to use right-click, then paste, as v doesn't seem to work here)

To copy a path to the open dialog of an app (the Mac way)

  1. move the path or file from the Finder window into the open dialog

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