As you know, your computer stores files using a hierarchical structure. So if you need to find the full path of a file, it’s good to know the various ways you can do so on macOS. You might want the path name to create a shortcut, need it for an app, or would like it as a reference for yourself.
We’ve covered different ways for finding and displaying the full path of a file. Here, we’ll round up those methods for you and include a couple more. So the next time you need the path name of a file or folder on your Mac, you can use whichever is easiest or most comfortable for you.
How to find path names on Mac
Finder Path Bar
The simplest way to always see the full path of a file or folder on macOS is with the Finder Path Bar.
Open Finder and go to View > Show Path Bar.
You’ll then see the full path of your current location in Finder at the bottom of the window. If you have the Status Bar displayed as well, the Path Bar will appear directly above it.
A nice feature of the Finder Path Bar is that it’s interactive. So, it’s not just for show. Check out our tutorial for using the interactive Path Bar in Finder on Mac.
Another easy way to obtain a file path on Mac is with the context menu in Finder.
Open Finder and right-click the file or folder to display the context menu. Hold down the Option key and you’ll see Copy change to Copy [name] as Pathname.
When you select that option, the file or folder path will be placed on your clipboard. You can then paste it where you need it or pop it into Notes to simply view the path.
While there have been updates to Spotlight on macOS, one thing remains and that’s the ability to view the path of a file or folder with it.
Open Spotlight and enter a keyword for the file or folder. Use the arrows on your keyboard to highlight the item and then hold your Command key. You’ll see the path name for the item display until you release the Command key.
Using the Spotlight method is convenient if you’re already searching for that item. Not only can you find it quickly, but you can see its exact location on your system.
When you right-click an item on your Mac, you have a Get Info option in the context menu. By clicking Get Info, you can see all sorts of details about the file or folder.
Expand General in the Get Info pop-up window if necessary and next to Where you’ll see the path for the item.
If you select the path by dragging your cursor through it, you can use Command + C to copy it and then paste it where needed or in Notes to save it for reference.
If you don’t mind using Terminal for simple commands now and then, it’s a handy tool for seeing the path of a file.
Open Terminal and drag the file or folder onto the Terminal window.
You’ll then see the entire path name for the item display. From there, you can select and copy it if needed.
Finder title bar
While this option doesn’t give you a path name that’s easy to copy, it does give it to you in its hierarchical form. So if you just want to see the path that file or folder takes, give this trick suggested by Christian a try.
With Finder open, right-click or hold either Command or Control as you click the current location in the Finder title bar.
You’ll see a drop-down with the path as its structured. And you can click any of the folders or locations in the list to go directly to one.
Bonus: If you’d like to always see the path name in your Finder title bar, check out Christian’s tutorial which walks you through the process.
Wrapping it up
With these six ways to find the path of a file or folder on your Mac, you should be covered the next time you need that information. Do you know of another way to find a path name on Mac that you’d like to share? If so, comment below or hit us up on Twitter with your suggestion!