OS X Yosemite (design promo, Finder icon 001)

The Mac’s Finder isn’t as versatile a file manager when it comes to copying a file or folder’s full path as the Windows Explorer app is.

To be sure, macOS has long allowed you to enable an interactive file path at the bottom of Finder windows, and even show the complete path in a window’s titlebar, but these methods won’t let you copy an item’s full path to the system clipboard easily.

Starting with OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Apple has introduced a new Copy Pathname option that makes it very easy to do just that. And in this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to copy a file or folder’s complete path on Mac, directly from the Finder.

How to copy full file or folder path on your Mac

Step 1: Launch a new Finder window by choosing New Finder Window under the Finder’s File menu.

How to copy file path OS X El Capitan Mac screenshot 001

Step 2: Navigate to a desired file or folder and click the item in the Finder window while holding the Control (⌃) key, which will bring up a contextual menu populated with various file-related operations.

Step 3: Now hold down the Option (⌥) key to reveal a hidden option in the contextual menu, labeled “Copy (file/folder name) as Pathname”.

How to copy file path OS X El Capitan Mac screenshot 002

Step 4: Selecting this option will copy the complete, not relative, pathname of your item into the system clipboard.

Now you can easily paste the item’s complete path in other apps using macOS’ system-wide Command (⌘) – V shortcut.

Again, the Copy Pathname feature is only available in OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later and cannot be found in earlier OS X editions.

As per usual, feel free to submit your tutorial ideas via [email protected]Blog.com.

  • Al Fresco

    doesn’t work on a server? Tried it but no luck.

    • On a server?

      • Al Fresco

        Yeah. We use X-Serve at work, and often we have to screen shot a path in order to share file locations. This would make a file path much quicker to share, but I can’t seem to make it work when browsing files on a shared server.

  • AAPL.To.Break.$130.Soon>:-)

    One way to do it in 10.6.8. (Yeah, old computer but don’t want to update to an newer OS.) Do a Get Info on that file and it shows the file path in the General: section next to Where:. You can then highlight the path and copy it to the clipboard and then paste. Not as elegant but it works.

  • Good to see ancient functions like this that have been in XP are slowly making their way to OS X, but it can still be made a bit easier to find…to get this option, I just hold shift and right-click on file/folder and select it from the menu…no need for additional shortcut key.

  • Morgan Freeman

    Apple needs to re-enable remembering layouts in finder- when you go ‘back’ a folder and the damn thing automatically scrolls all the way to the top instead of where you were before. VERY ANNOYING! Who’s with me? Like this comment to the stratosphere LOL…

  • Discus

    On any Mac OS, all the way back to 8 I think, open textedit (or teachText 🙂 chose Format -> Make plain Text, then drag the icon on the page.

    In terminal, just drop the folder or the document on the window, and you will have the path. ex. Type CD, then drop the icon.

    More fun, open Application folder, Select all, Copy, go to the same text edit page in Plain Text and paste, you will have a list of all app…

  • samyg

    Or use FinderPath.

  • ready1take1

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

  • VODi

    doesn’t work on 10.11.6