How to show full file path in Finder window titlebars

By , Dec 7, 2015

OS X Yosemite (design promo, Finder icon 001)

Our recent tutorial explored copying the complete path of files and folders by way of holding down the Option key to reveal the Finder’s hidden “Copy (file/folder name) as Pathname” option in the contextual menu.

But wouldn’t actually seeing the full path in the Finder window’s titlebar—versus showing just the name of the currently selected folder—be an even greater productivity boost?

With a little bit of Terminal magic, you can. In this tutorial, we’ll explain using Terminal to show or hide the full file path in the active Finder window’s titlebar on your Mac.

The following tricks work on any Intel-based Mac running any OS X version from OS X 10.6 and onward. You should also be at least remotely familiar with Terminal, a stock Mac app in your /Applications/Utilities/ folder.

How to show full file path in Finder window titlebars

Step 1: Launch Terminal on your Mac.

Step 2: Paste the following command into the Terminal window and hit Return:

defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES;killall Finder

The part before the semicolon changes OS X defaults pertaining to the Finder windows’ titlebars so that the full path is displayed in them. The part after the semicolon kills and restarts the Finder process, which is necessary for the changes to take effect.

OS X Yosemite show full path in Finder window titlebar Mac screenshot 003

Now when you browse files and folders in Finder, you’ll notice the full path is displayed in the window’s titlebar, as depicted on the screenshot above.

How to hide full file path in Finder window titlebars

Step 1: Launch Terminal on your Mac.

Step 2: Paste the following command into the Terminal window and hit Return:

defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool NO;killall Finder

Here, we adjust the defaults command to revert the changes and switch back to displaying just the currently selected folder’s name in the window’s titlebar.

OS X Yosemite show full path in Finder window titlebar Mac screenshot 002

This is actually how the Finder handles window titlebars by default. As you can see for yourself, seeing only the name of the currently selected folder in the window titlebar is of little use as the file is already highlighted in the Finder.

Regardless of your preference of Finder window titlebars, there’s another cool trick to learn today: if you hold the Control (⌃) or Command (⌘) key and left-click the window’s titlebar, a handy menu pops up with your folder hierarchy.

OS X Yosemite show full path in Finder window titlebar Mac screenshot 001

It’s especially handy when you’re several levels deep into a folder and want to jump to a specific parent folder. Just select a parent folder in the menu and the Finder will take you right there, no need to manually navigate your way back through multiple folders.

RELATED: How to copy file or folder’s complete path in Finder

Did you find this particular tip useful? If so, pass along this article to your Mac friends and support folks.

To send us your own tutorial submissions, use tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

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  • ready1take1

    I just keep the path bar shown. View > Show Path Bar. Or Option (⌥) Command (⌘) P.

    • Ángel Javier Esquivel

      Same here

  • andyr354

    I like this one. The way it should be.

  • diggitydang

    If you want to keep it clean, you can always option+click the folder name and see the path, or even select a folder along the path from there. I also keep the view option of “Show Path Bar” on.

  • @sexyhamthing

    Do the writers on IDB not ahve things to do? Most of this is just fluff.

    Just grab a step-by-step and thats all. No shenanigans, state the obvious’..