We’ve walked you through the basics of using Finder. For those new to Mac, it’s a key tool to become familiar with on macOS. One important aspect of using Finder is the tabs feature.
Just like working in Safari or another browser, you can use tabs for opening multiple sites rather than a new window for each, and Finder works the same way. By opening your different Finder folders in tabs instead of separate windows, you can make working between them easier. Plus, you can conserve some screen space.
Here we’re going to give you helpful tips and steps for working with tabs in Finder so that you can make the most of this all-important Mac tool.
Opening a new tab
If you first open Finder using the icon in your Dock, rather than clicking a specific folder like Applications, you’ll likely know where you plan to go. Maybe it’s a folder in the sidebar, for instance. When you select that folder, it will replace the contents of the current Finder window.
But maybe that’s not what you want. Perhaps you want that folder open along with another.
Let’s use an example. Say you want to open your Downloads folder and move something from it, like an image, to another folder like Pictures. This is the perfect time to use tabs in Finder.
You could open the Downloads folder, click the plus sign in the tab bar to open a new tab, and then open your Pictures folder in that new tab.
This way, you can simply drag the file from the Downloads folder tab to the Pictures folder tab.
You can continue to open new tabs for other folders the same way, by clicking the plus sign in the tab row. You can also click File > New Tab from the menu bar.
Double-clicking to open a new tab
Now let’s say that you want to open a subfolder in a new tab and have all three folders open at once. For instance, we’ll use Downloads, Pictures, and a subfolder called My Pictures.
Hold down your Command key as you double-click that subfolder. You’ll then see the My Pictures subfolder open in a new tab next to your other two.
You can use this same action to open a folder from your Finder sidebar in a new tab.
If you try this method of opening another tab, but it opens in a new window instead, it’s a simple setting change.
1) Open Finder > Preferences from the menu bar.
2) Click the General tab.
3) Check the box at the bottom for Open folders in tabs instead of new windows.
There are different ways to move through your tabs aside from clicking the one you want to view. These methods are most useful when you have many tabs open at the same time.
Swipe to view tabs
If you continue to open new tabs in Finder and then realize you can’t see them all in the tab row, that doesn’t mean they’re gone or closed.
Put your cursor on the tab row and then swipe to scroll left and right to see your other tabs.
Use the Window view
You can also use the Window menu to navigate your tabs.
Click Window from the menu bar and then choose Show Previous Tab or Show Next Tab, or select the tab (folder) name at the bottom of the menu.
Open tab overview
Another way to see or jump to another tab is with the tab overview. Similar to the same named feature in Safari, this view displays all open tabs. You can then select to view one, close a tab, or open a new one.
Click View > Show All Tabs from the menu bar, right-click a tab and pick Show All Tabs, or use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + \ (backslash).
Rearranging or moving tabs
If you have several tabs open and want two of them next to each other, you can rearrange your tabs easily. Select one, drag it to its new spot in the tab row, and release.
If you prefer to move a tab to its own window, right-click or choose Window from the menu bar. Then pick Move Tab to New Window.
You can also move a tab to its own window by selecting it and then dragging it out of the Finder window onto your desktop.
You have a few ways to close a tab, so use the one that’s most convenient.
- Put your cursor over the tab in the tab row or in the tab overview and click the X.
- Click File > Close Tab from the menu bar.
- Right-click the tab and choose Close Tab.
If you want to close all tabs except the one you’re currently using, right-click the tab you want to keep open and choose Close Other Tabs.
Wrapping it up
As you can see, you definitely have flexibility and options for working with tabs in Finder. Try to keep these tips in mind the next time you use more than one Finder folder at once.
For more, check out these useful Mac Finder preferences and settings.