Finder App Icon

Just like many other native OS X apps, Finder offers a variety of keyboard shortcuts to help you perform actions more quickly.

Although you’re probably used to pointing and clicking on whatever it may be that you want in your Finder window, using your keyboard can be just as effective, if not more effective, at getting you around your Mac’s filesystem faster.

In this piece, we’ll share 10 handy keyboard shortcuts that you can use while you’re in Finder to navigate your filesystem.

1. Opening a new finder window

If at any time you’re navigating your Mac’s filesystem and you decide you want to move something to a new folder on your Mac, it may be helpful to open a second Finder window to drag that file to. To open a new Finder window, just press Command (⌘) + N on your keyboard and you’re ready to rock. Alternatively, you can open a new Finder tab with Command (⌘) + T.

2. Creating a new folder

To make a new empty folder in the Finder window you have open, you can press Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + N on your keyboard. You’ll still have to name the folder someone afterwards, and then you can drag anything you want into it to stay organized.

3. Emptying the trash

To quickly empty the trash on your Mac, you can simply press Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + Delete on your keyboard when you have a Finder window open in the foreground.

4. Opening Spotlight

To launch Spotlight with a keyboard shortcut, press Command (⌘) + Space on your keyboard and you can start searching your Mac for anything right away.

5. Quickly getting to your Mac’s Utilities folder

The Utilities folder on your Mac contains a handful of important apps you might need to use every so often, such as Terminal or Activity Monitor. Although these apps probably aren’t something you’ll use so often that you’ll add them to your Dock, you can still use keyboard shortcut to get to them quickly by pressing Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + U on your keyboard while a Finder window is open.

6. Quickly getting to your Mac’s Applications folder

To quickly get to the applications folder so you can launch, rename, or delete apps, you can press Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + A on your keyboard while a Finder window is open.

7. Duplicating selected items

To duplicate items you’ve selected, you can press Command (⌘) + D on your keyboard and duplicates will be created in your open Finder window.

8. Searching your Mac

Another useful feature of Finder is the ability to search the contents of your Mac. After you’ve opened a Finder window, press Command (⌘) + F on your keyboard, and this will select the search bar so you can start typing for things to search your Mac for.

9. Configure file view options for the current window

By pressing Command (⌘) + J on your keyboard when you have a Finder window open, a list of options will appear so you can change the way items are shown to you. This includes changing the sort options, changing the file view, changing icon and grid size, choosing a Finder background, and configuring text and preview details.

10. Changing the Finder file view

If you want to change the way files are presented to you in Finder, you can use any of the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Command (⌘) + 1 – shows the Finder window’s contents in icon mode.
  • Command (⌘) + – shows the Finder window’s contents in list mode.
  • Command (⌘) + – shows the Finder window’s contents in column mode.
  • Command (⌘) + – shows the Finder window’s contents in cover flow mode.

Although there are many other keyboard shortcuts you can also use in Finder, these are among some of those that I use the most often that I thought would be useful for others looking to use their keyboard for actions more often.


If we missed any of your favorite keyboard shortcuts, let us know in the comments below!