Cut Paste Mac Finder

One of the most apparent differences between Windows machines and Macs is the lack of a so-called “cut and paste” option on the Mac. On Windows machines, users are used to seeing cut, copy, and paste, but on Macs there is no command called cut. Actually, similar functionality exists on a Mac, it’s just a little less straightforward than it is on Windows (ironically).

Instead, Apple likes to call its version move, which honestly makes more sense than cut if you ask me. Although move isn’t an option when you right click, and there isn’t your typical Command + X command for moving, it’s still really easy to pull off. In the video that follows, I’ll show you three different ways to use cut and paste in your Mac’s Finder.

Cut and Paste on Mac

To use Cut functionality on the Finder, do the following:

Step 1: Right click on the item that you wish to cut and select Copy

Step 2: Locate the destination where you’d like to move the item, right click, and hold the Option () key on your keyboard, and the Paste Item Here option will change to Move Item here. Click Move Item Here.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 11.14.30 AM

You’ll notice the item is now moved and no longer appears in its original place.

You can also do the same thing with keyboard shortcuts. Just use Command + C to copy and then use Option + Command + V to paste the item to the new destination.

If you still finding yourself missing Windows’ contextual cut command, you can use a third-party utility to add it to the Finder. One such utility is called XtraFinder, and it’s available as a free download. It features an option to add Windows-like cut and paste functionality to the Finder’s menu.

XtraFinder Preferences

To enable cut and paste with XtraFinder, install the package → click the menu bar icon → click Preferences → click Features → check the Cut & Paste box.

How do you handle cut and paste on Mac? Sound off down below in the comments section.

  • John Stub

    I just use Tabbed finder windows. People don’t understand that the Desktop is actually a Folder. Set your Finder preferences to “New Finder window opens” and select Desktop then add a tab to a finder window and then just drag the file or files.

    • African-Techie

      I’m not sure if this is a real ‘solution’ on how to move files. Simple dragging of files/folders on a Mac will still just copy them if you don’t hold the Command key down…

  • I used to use Yoink, but very soon switched to XtraFinder.

  • SMFH

    This is stupid, why is it overly hidden like this. Just put move as a 1st level option and have a 2 key shortcut, 3 keys? are you serious?

  • Jaco

    Thank you, I did´t know that shortcut, btw i never searched it i just moved them with the trackpad, but this is more useful (Tumbs Up!).

  • Jonathan

    I saw in one of Jeff’s videos, dragging a window to the top and it snaps to fill the whole screen. How did he do that? That’s the main thing I miss most about Mac OS.

    • tdad

      BetterSnapTool emulates this Windows feature on the Mac

    • James G

      BetterTouchTool enables that and a whole lot more. And it’s free.

      • Gabriele Mandalari

        How Can I do it with better touch tool?

      • Carlos Medina

        in the preference – enable advance- and it should be there.

      • James G

        Go to the preferences of the app. There should be a window snapping tab.

    • FuzeDesign

      I use cinch

    • OneBigInFiniteJoint

      hey man, any luck with your theme “ReOS”. i just saw the screen shots and it locked wicked !

      • Jonathan

        I replied to your “guest” post above. 😉

    • Guest

      just saw the screen shots of your theme “ReOS” it’s wicked. when is it going to be released? or has it already ?

      • Jonathan

        Thanks man. It’s still being worked on. I don’t have a release date because of school and so forth. :/ But do keep an eye out for its name in Cydia. 🙂

      • Carlos Medina

        Hey do you need help creating icons? I can lend a hand if you’d like since i keep busy in Reddit creating themes for others lol i don’t mind lending a hand.

      • Jonathan

        Thanks, but I’m good. I think icons are done (except for 2). Really, it’s just assuring iPhone 6 Plus and iPad support.

      • Carlos Medina

        That’s fine then. If you need reassurance for 6+ support ill be glad to help since that’s the type of iPhone i have.

      • Jonathan

        Hmm.. I might. Not sure. I already have 3 people assisting me in that though.

      • Carlos Medina

        oh alright them its fine.

  • Kr00

    XtraFinder FTW.

  • Chris

    I personally prefer TotalFinder as it has this built in along with keyboard shortcuts.

  • SMP

    XtraFinder is a great piece of software for all those people that are long time Windows users. Besides the mentioned cut/paste option, my favorite is the one to put folders on top in finder window. That thing really gave me a headache in OS X. 🙂

  • Benedict

    Can you also drag&drop while holding shift to move it?

  • vivalaivsca

    What?? the mac has had cut, copy and paste for as long as i’ve had one. I don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Show me a screenshot of your Mac where it says “cut”

    • Jay

      You are talking utter BS!

  • Thanks Jeff! I totally didn’t know about holding option for the additional option. Guess that’s why it’s called “option” in the first place :p

    • You’re very welcome.

    • Antonakis Kipouros Nikopolidis

      Switching from windows I also had problems with multiple files info, option key helps with that too…

  • Jeff Chow

    OMG I’ve been frustrated by this – trying to drag files around to ‘move’ them. THANK YOU!!

    • Awesome, I’m glad readers are finding this useful.

  • Gordon Milcham

    I bought my first Mac recently and was seriously appalled for the lacking of cut. And that you have to use the keyboard to do things you do with the right click menu in windows. Which by the way had to turn it on! Almost had a heart attack when notice that the computer didn’t have right click. Anyway, the worst part of the Mac Move is the way it handles files. I lost A LOT of files and videos during the migration because when you move a folder in Mac, and the destination already has a folder with the same name, it deletes it. There’s warning message that is not very clear and that I ignored because that behaviour would have never crossed my mind. In Windows folders get merged and system asks you about files with same name. But going back to cut. I don’t know if it was the latest update but now I have it. And love it. Now if they only put attach buttons to messages, that would be awesome.

  • African-Techie

    Thanks so much for this. It’s been such a long and consistent annoyance. I’ve been using the Command+Drag option which moves files to their new locations. Pressing the Command button gets rid of the little green plus sign (for copy). If anything, I like that there are so many options to do the same thing on a Mac, but I have to hand it to Microsoft, Cut & Paste is by far the easier and more straight-forward method for this really simple task. I wonder if it’s patented, preventing Apple from using it.

  • I used to use TotalFinder, which gave me Cut and Paste and Tabs On Top (which I like better in Finder than Safari), but El Capitan killed the app. Nice to know that the keyboard shortcut exists, though I don’t know why you need to press option. Seems redundant.

    • Miguel Alejandro Vergara

      It used to be cmd+x and then cmd+v (cut and then paste), so you’ve always had a simple command for this… but it’s disabled in El Capitan, pretty stupid.

  • Unknown

    Well you need an App to fix apple’s POS of user experience.

    Overpriced, overhyped