Is it possible to get focus on the Finder sidebar and be able to select an item within "device", "shared", "places" and "search for" only with the keyboard?


11 Answers 11


I don't believe it is possible, the only shortcut I can find for the sidebar is CmdT which adds a shortcut for the current selected item to the sidebar.

Another solution is to hit Cmd to move to the 'enclosing folder', which will take you around the file system.

  • 4
    It seems to be impossible indeed.
    – gak
    Jan 2 '10 at 21:11
  • What am I missing here? It is in fact possible, as I detail in my answer. Just use the Go To Folder option and fill in the file path, all with the keyboard. Jan 3 '10 at 12:11
  • 3
    Bryan, I'm not sure if you read the question correctly. It asks how to access/browse the predefined "shortcuts" that are put into the Finder sidebar, not how to open a folder by typing out its name.
    – gak
    Jan 4 '10 at 11:26
  • 2
    Damn. It would be so convenient to just use the arrow keys to navigate into and out of them or at least having a shortcut to jump into the sidebar. I posted a feature request on the TotalFinder support forum. Let's see what they say.
    – oschrenk
    May 29 '12 at 13:47

I've been looking and looking for an answer to this too. I can't find an answer (in Snow Leopard at least, don't know about Lion).

The best work-around I've found is this:

  • Create a "Shortcuts" folder anywhere
  • Drag that into the Sidebar
  • Create Aliases for the folders you have in your Sidebar and move them into your Shortcuts folder
  • Open Sidebar Preferences (right-click anywhere in the Sidebar)
  • Go to the 'General' tab
  • Change 'New Finder windows open:' to your Shortcuts folder.

This way, every time you launch a Finder window, you'll be inside Shortcuts and have access to your favourite folders with the keyboard.

YMMV... Obviously this requires you to manage a different set of shortcuts... But possibly it'll help until Apple address this problem (I've submitted a bug report too, surely this is a bug).

  • cmd-L <- quick way to Make Alias (no need to create symlinks by hand either) Jul 10 '16 at 10:04
  • this is actually clever, well done. What shortcut can immediately open a new finder window? :-)
    – Merlin
    Sep 16 '19 at 19:42

You can use "Go To Folder" in the Finder to get to any of those. cmd +shift+G Then just fill in the filepath: ~/Desktop | /Backups | and so on.

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  • cmd+shift+G rules. It also saves typed paths and you can select them from the list. Jan 24 '18 at 16:34

It's really regrettable you can't navigate the Sidebar of the Finder window by keystroke, I agree!

Here are the best two ways I can find:

1.) Cmd-Space to get Spotlight, and then type your folder or drive name (or enough characters to make it the first hit) and then hit return. A new finder window will open with that folder/drive.

2.) If you're looking to get to a "Device" then you can type Shift-Cmd-C in the Finder window, and then use cursor keys to navigate starting from your Computer view.

They're not as good as what you want, but the best I could devise.


I don't know how navigate to every folder in the Finder Sidebar, but I just found these 6 :

  • Applications : command + shift + "A"
  • Desktop : command + shift + "D"
  • AirDrop : command + shift + "R"
  • iCloud Drive : command + shift + "I"
  • User Folders : command + shift + "H"
  • All My Files : command + shift + "F"

NOTE : Although I use Spotlight Search for "Downloads", I noticed if you navigate to the users folder (command + shift + "H"), then you can type the name of the directory seen there (Downloads, Documents, etc.)

  • These are standard shortcuts. Also Cmd+Opt+L for Downloads, Shift+Cmd+O for Documents. Useful because I don't need to keep all of them (any of them!) in my favorites list anymore. Here's a list: support.apple.com/en-us/HT201236
    – Tom Hundt
    Aug 5 '20 at 16:10

Here's my way...drag the folders from the sidebar to the top. Then you can get to them with ctrl tab. This is useful for User Library among other things.

If all else fails remember you can navigate mouselessly using mouse keys. I use KeyRemap with a script I made in conjunction with the dev. It's free! Tutorial here Lose the mouse!



  • control + F2 to focus menu bar
  • move to 'Go' using arrow keys
  • Press Down arrow key

and Voila you have have your favourites in the menu

  • Which is nice, but doesn't work in the file selector, which is actually the main place where I end up wanting it. Oct 16 '16 at 19:43

My go to would be to:

  • Cmd + Spacebar to open up Spotlight
  • Type in the folder I need
  • Key up or down to find
  • Hit Enter

Not really a shortcut, I suppose, but it works for me.


I’m surprised in the 8 years since this question was asked, no one has suggested Automator. Each of the Finder sidebar’s standard locations has an equivalent keyboard shortcut as can be seen by viewing the ‘Go’ menu. These shortcuts take you straight there in one step (much quicker than the more Windows-like idea of getting ‘focus’ on the sidebar and navigating around it.)

That only leaves our custom sidebar locations without shortcuts. That’s where Automator (and System Preferences) comes in:

  1. Launch Automator and create a new 'Service’.
  2. Set 'Service receives' to 'no input', and 'in' to 'Finder.app'.
  3. In the sidebar, under ‘Library > Files & Folders’, locate ‘Get Specified Finder Items’ and drag it into the workflow area.
  4. Click ‘Add’ to choose the folder you want a shortcut for.
  5. In the sidebar locate ‘Open Finder Items’ and drag it into the workflow area.


  1. Save your workflow and give it a logical name like ‘Go to MyFolderName folder’.
  2. Go to ‘System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts’, and click on ‘Services’ in the sidebar.
  3. Locate your workflow within ‘General’ and click on it. (If your workflow isn’t there, you may need to restart or log out and back in.)
  4. Click the ‘Add Shortcut’ button and give it a keyboard shortcut that doesn’t conflict with one of Apple's default Finder shortcuts. (If you do have a conflict, you can always redefine the default Finder shortcut. For example, for a folder called ‘Projects’, I wanted to use Command-Shift-P, but this conflicts with ‘Show Preview’ (which I hardly ever use). So I redefined the ‘Show Preview’ and ‘Hide Preview’ shortcuts to Command-Shift-Option-P.)
  5. Enjoy your new Finder shortcut!

Let’s hope Apple doesn’t remove wonderful automation features like this in a future release of macOS as some are speculating. That would be a very sad day indeed.

  • Option + Command + Space will open a new Finder window from anywhere
  • Then you can Option + ` your way between the windows.

This is not technically a keyboard solution, but at least it doesn't involve the mouse. Using voice commands you can "Show Numbers":


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It adds numerical tags to practically every piece of UI, and in finder, that includes everything in the left sidebar. You then say the number, and it clicks it for you-

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