In the Terminal I use open . to open the current directory using Finder.

Open folders in new tabs settings is set in the Finder, yet it opens a new window every time. By the end of a project/day I have dozens of these windows open.

How do I get the Finder to open a new tab, instead of a new window when using open . in the Terminal?

  • I don't think open can handle that for the moment. Dec 15, 2013 at 18:03
  • Related: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/106131/…
    – Nick
    Dec 24, 2013 at 17:52
  • 1
    Perhaps, some AppleScript hacking could resolve this problem. (sorry, I don't have Mavericks to test it, but you can try to adapt the solution here). Feb 4, 2014 at 9:47
  • ...and hack your shell to replace the default "open ." behaviour with this applescript launch. Feb 4, 2014 at 10:41

2 Answers 2


You cannot use open . to open a new tab in Finder, though it is possible to open a new tab using AppleScript - from How do you duplicate current open Finder view in new tab (Mavericks)?

tell application "Finder"
    set t to target of Finder window 1
    set toolbar visible of window 1 to true
end tell
tell application "System Events"
    keystroke "t" using command down
end tell
tell application "Finder"
    set target of Finder window 1 to t
end tell

Alternatively from http://macscripter.net/viewtopic.php?id=41624

set docs_path to (path to documents folder) as string
set Sat_folder to docs_path & "Sat:"
set ABC_folder to (Sat_folder & "ABC:") as alias

tell application "Finder"
   open Sat_folder
end tell

tell application "System Events" to keystroke "t" using command down

tell application "Finder"
   set target of front window to ABC_folder
end tell

Probably a bit late, but in case other people are still searching for this. In macOS Big Sur this works: System preferences > General > Prefer tabs > select always from the dropdown menu.

Now open . will open in a new tab in an existing Finder window. It also works from iTerm.

  • People are still looking and thanks for adding that bit :)
    – BiGYaN
    Feb 11 at 23:54

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