I'm a newbie on the Mac world and I'd like to know if it's possible to cut a file using a shortcut (like Ctrl+X on Windows).

  • 4
    On Lion you can move files after copying them with ⌥⌘V (Move Item Here).
    – Lri
    May 6, 2012 at 10:32

4 Answers 4


It is possible to cut-paste files/folders in Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)’s Finder (so, since at least 2011), but the Mac OS X way is slightly different from the Windows way. This method works in other versions of Mac OS X as well.

  1. -C (copy first)
  2. --V (now move to it’s destination)

So, the steps are very similar to copy-paste, but holding (option key) moves the file/folder instead of copies it.

You can also have a look in the edit menu after copying a file - press while looking to see the difference: “paste” changes to “move item here.”

  • 4
    Author, mark it as answer.
    – Dmitry
    Oct 8, 2015 at 17:35
  • This is mind-numbingly unintuitive to me. Maybe I'm just too "stuck in my ways" or something.
    – byxor
    Oct 2, 2019 at 13:06
  • @byxor Might seem non-intuitive, but depending on how the OS actually stores the content (in memory) after it has been "cut" could lead to all sorts of trouble if something happens before the move operation completes. So, most implementations splits this into a three part process chain, macOS just doesn't call it "cut", but the same thing happens using cmd+opt+v at target folder after a cmd+c copy: Copy->Paste->Delete Original. Apr 21, 2021 at 0:39
  • @C.Sederqvist, the way it works in Ubuntu at least is that you Ctrl+X, which does a copy (and remembers it's a cut), then Ctrl+V somewhere else, which changes the location of the file. That way it's impossible to delete a file with Ctrl+X, while still remaining consistent with text editing, etc.
    – Elliott
    Mar 4, 2022 at 6:59

I like XtraFinder

It's an enhanced version of Finder. You get Cut & Paste and a bunch of other features.

And it's free.


The method using ⌘-C and ⌘-⌥-V is by far the easiest and arguably the most efficient way to cut / paste files in the Finder if that's all you want.

If you're going for 3rd party extensions or applications and want an awesome Finder replacement, I'd suggest giving Pathfinder (http://www.cocoatech.com/pathfinder/) a try.

It's the most feature rich Finder replacement out there...

  • **⌘-C ** doesn't cut, it copies
    – clhy
    Oct 23, 2015 at 15:39
  • Not when it is followed by ⌘-⌥-V. That's like the whole point. Then it moves e.g. cuts in practice. ⌘-V would do a copy -> paste. Oct 24, 2015 at 19:40

If you can't miss ⌘X in macOS, then choose ForkLift 3!

This alternative file manager is better than Mac's native 'finder'. In its Menu entry /Edit you can find the needed command to cut selected files, amongst other relevant shortcuts for file operations.

You can get ForkLift 2 it in the official App Store for free.

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