How Finder Tabs work in OS X Mavericks

By , Jul 11, 2013

FinderTabs

OS X Mavericks isn’t a drastic upgrade like OS X Lion was for Snow Leopard, but there are still quite a few new features bundled in with Apple’s upcoming desktop OS refresh. Our plan is to cover all of the changes with in-depth video previews like this one to showcase what’s changed. First up to bat? None other than one of my favorite new features — Finder Tabs.

Of course, there have been a few third party apps that allowed Finder tabs on older versions of OS X — Total Finder is the one that pops to mind immediately. But there’s just nothing like native integration for a feature like this; a feature that’s been desperately longed after for as long as I can remember.

Finder Tabs allow you to create new tabs within a single Finder window, much the same as with the Safari browser. The Safari comparison isn’t just a generic comparison for the sake of explaining things. No, Finder tabs are almost exactly like the tabs in Safari, not only do they look the same, but most of the shortcut keys that you use to manipulate tabs in Safari are the same in Finder.

Check out our full video walkthrough for a look at OS X Maverick’s new take on Finder.

To create a new tab within Finder in OSX Mavericks, you can use the menu command: File > New Tab, or you can opt for the Keyboard shortcut, which is Command + T. Unlike Safari, there is no physical new tab button present within Finder, so you must rely on one of the aforementioned commands, at least that is so with OS X Mavericks 10.9 Developer Preview 3. To close a tab, you can click the ‘x’ button that appears when hovering over the tab that you wish to close. You can also use the menu command: File > Close tab, or the keyboard shortcut Command + W.

Moving between tabs can be done in a variety of ways, the easiest of which is to simply click the tab you want to view. But, as you can with Safari, you can move between tabs using keyboard shortcuts. To move forward through your tabs use the keyboard shortcut Control + Tab, to move in the reverse direction, use the Control + Shift + Tab command, instead.

Opening new folders works exactly like it does in current versions of OS X. All new folders will open in their own dedicated Finder windows. You can, however; opt to force a folder to open in a tabbed window by holding the Command key while double clicking the folder in question. This is denoted in the Finder preferences shown in the screenshot below:

Finder Preferences new tab window

One of the most useful features of the new tab setup within Finder, outside of the additional real estate gained from having to open less Finder windows, is the ability to quickly move files between tabs. If you have two or more tabs open, you can easily drag files between tabs by simply dragging and dropping a file to a tab location where you desire to move it. It works just as you would imagine, and makes transferring files between locations elementary.

I also should not neglect to mention the Finder’s new ability to open in full screen mode. Again, this was a feature that could used on earlier versions of OS X with the help of third party addons, but with Mavericks, it’s baked right into the code. The presence of tabs makes the enlarged real estate even more valuable, and I have a feeling that many will be using the full screen Finder with OS X Maverick’s new and improved second screen features as well.

All in all, the new Finder feels like the perfect evolution of Finder. It’s not going to change your life or anything, but it’s good to see that Apple is trying to at least listen to its customer’s wants and needs.

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  • http://young-smil-officiel.skyrock.com/ Young SMIL

    I would like to know if, when you open a folder, for example from the desktop, does it open in a new tab or in a new window ? And can we open tabs by clicking on a folder with the mouse wheel, like on the navigator ?

    • andrewhaglund

      Opening a folder by clicking on its icon on the desktop opens it in a new window. There needs to be a option to do “Always open links in a New Tab” like in Safari. Maybe it’s there somewhere, but I have yet to find a setting like that…

      • http://young-smil-officiel.skyrock.com/ Young SMIL

        Ok thanks, that would be great, because it’s especially in this case that I would love to have a new tab instead of a new window.

    • Jeff

      I updated the post with that info. Basically you can use the Command + double click command to open new windows in tabs instead of a dedicated window. Good question.

      • andrewhaglund

        I just found that setting, neat! However, Command+double clicking a folder on the desktop still opens it into a new window. Perhaps this is a beta thing?

      • pawfyd

        Yes, but you did not say a thing about opening new tabs using the wheel. Is it possible?

  • JoJo

    Can you please tell me if middle mouse button (scrollwheel) click on a folder opens it on a new tab?
    Same goes for closing tabs, it would be nice to close them with the middle mouse button too.

    • Jeff

      I don’t have a middle mouse button. I use a Magic Mouse. That being said, I doubt it.

      • JoJo

        Hi Jeff, thanks for your reply.

        Actually I use a magic mouse as well. I just used the middle mouse button as an example because it was easier to explain.

        I have the Magic mouse configured with Magicprefs so that a three finger click acts as a middle mouse button (scroll wheel)

        This makes opening and closing tabs in safari/chrome/firefox just so much easier. (three finger click on any link in a webpage to open it in a new tab. Three finger click on any tab to close it )

        At the moment I am using xtrafinder to have tabs in OSX, which has the same three finger click (middelmouse button) function.
        Three finger click click any folder to open it in a new tab, and to close the tab, you guessed it Three finger click ;)

        It works amazing, once you get used to it you will never want to go back. I can highly recommend it to everyone.

      • Jeff

        Ah, okay. I used to use Magicprefs. I should probably go back to that. Thanks for the explanation :)

      • jacobkwright

        Yes! I’m always running into people who do not use the middle click and I can’t believe it. I use it all the time to open links in new tabs in the background, and closing tabs without having to find that small x. Just middle click it and it closes.

  • MunnySwirl

    bettertouchtool three finger swipe up or down on a trackpad should be sweet for this feature.

  • Taylor Harris

    I use two iOS devices and appreciate the sophistication of the operating system, but I’ve always hated Macintosh and this is yet another reason why. They’re just now implementing a tabbed file browsing feature?? How long has this been available in Nautilus in GNOME based Linux distributions?? I think nearly five years now!

    • BoardDWorld

      KDE has had it far longer than that. OPEN SUSE had it 7 years ago when I tried it out… Just like the cool features going into Ubuntu Mobile, way ahead of iOS.

  • Casey

    One thing that has always really bugged me about MacOS that I LOVE in Windows and just seems so efficient and productive that I’d really like to be included (or somehow tell me how to enable?) is:

    The ability to perform any finder/explorer action within the open dialog of other applications. For example, in Windows I can be in Photoshop looking for an image, notice a spreadsheet in my images folder and just cut/paste it where I want it, all from within the Open dialog of PS. Similarly, If I just wanted to rename or take a look at what the spreadsheet was or open it for later use after I moved it I can right click and choose to open it in its default application – again all within my other app. It really helps me get stuff done as I notice/remember it needs to be done. On my Mac I need to close the open dialog box wherever I am, switch to finder, navigate wherever I was (hope I remember) and then move, open, rename, etc. the file.

    Is there a reason why this cannot be done in OSX?
    I really hope someone just tells me I need to enable something and make it happen :)

  • stevek9

    ‘Opening new folders works exactly like it does in current versions of OS X. All new folders will open in their own dedicated Finder windows. ‘

    I’m afraid that is mistaken. They do not open in a new window, but replace the contents of the current window (what option double click used to do, if you had set it to open a new window when double clicking). If you turn off tabs and command-double-click you can get a new window, but that is not as simple.

    This change is not an improvement to many people’s workflow. I can only hope that Apple gets a lot of feedback and creates an option for double clicking a folder to open a new Finder window.