10 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for the Open & Save Dialog in Mac OS X

Jul 6, 2012 - 7 Comments

Keyboard shortcuts for the Open and Save windows of Mac OS X

The next time you end up in an Open or Save dialog window in Mac OS X, try out a few of these helpful keyboard shortcuts to make navigating around the dialog and filesystem much faster.

This list is in the keystroke – description order, they work in any Save box or Open file window screen throughout Mac OS X and its apps.

  1. Spacebar – View the selected item in Quick Look
  2. Command+D – Selects Desktop as the destination
  3. Command+Shift+H – Sets the Home directory as the destination
  4. Command+Shift+A – Sets Applications directory as the destination
  5. Command+Shift+. – Toggle invisible items
  6. Command+Shift+G – Bring up Go To Folder window
  7. Tab – Tab key auto-completes paths and file names from the aforementioned Go To window
  8. Command+R – Open the selected item in the Finder
  9. Command+F – Move the cursor to the Find field
  10. Command+. – Close the Open/Save dialog window

Remember these keystrokes and you’ll be jumping around the Open and Save boxes of OS X faster than ever before, keyboard shortcuts really help to master your Mac! And yes, these work in just about every version of OS X out there for Mac.

Open Save dialog keyboard shortcuts

Know any other great keyboard shortcuts or usability tips for the open/save dialog windows in OS X? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. JamesC says:

    You can also simply type / to bring up the “Go to the folder:” box.

  2. Matt says:

    Command+Shift+N creates a New Folder

    Command+Shift+C goes to the main Computer selection letting you select networked machines, other hard drives, external devices and more.

    Command+I opens the selections Get Info box

  3. Antony says:

    Save dialog: click on any (grayed-out) file name in the list to copy it into the Save/Save As field.

  4. Kurt Pfeifle says:

    Paul, please add what JamesC said to the main article. I’m using the ‘/’ shortcut all the time — it is so much easier to remember than ‘Command+Shift+G’. After all, when you want to go to ‘/Applications/…’ you’d have to start typing a ‘/’ anyway, isn’t it?

  5. Gordon M says:

    You can also start by typing ~ to start a path in your home folder.

  6. Jamie says:

    Command+Backspace selects do not save

  7. Blaine Sato says:

    One shortcut I would love to know (if it even exists), is how to shift focus from the file browser area (e.g. column view, where I may have been arrowing around to get to a desired folder) back to the file name box at the top.

    As it stands now, I either have to use the mouse and click up in the box, or press Tab 5x, or sometimes 6? I think it differs in different conditions, but either way, I don’t know a reliable single-stroke keyboard shortcut.

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