Open Folders as New Windows Instead of Tabs in the Finder of OS X
The Mac file system received tabbed window support in OS X Mavericks, which also caused opening new Finder windows into launching new tabs rather than an actual new Finder window. While this helps to cut down on window clutter when browsing the file system, it can also be kind of frustrating if you want to actually open a specific directory into a separate Finder window. Fortunately, there are a few workarounds to this, and you can open new windows instead of tabs in the OS X Finder by using a specific trick or by changing the default window behavior. We’ll cover both methods, so you can use whichever is most appropriate for your situations.
A quick reminder; you can always open a completely new Finder window by hitting Command+N anywhere in the Finder, this will default to launching a new window at your home folder unless you change that. The tricks below are aimed at opening specific folders into new windows.
1: Option + Right-Click for a New Finder Window of the Folder
The simplest option to open a specific folder into a new window is to use the Option key as a keyboard modifier and right-click the folder. While holding Option you’ll see the “Open in New Tab” transforms to “Open in New Window”, so just select that and it will launch the chosen folder into a new Finder window.
This is quick, easy, can be done anywhere, and doesn’t require any settings changed to the Mac Finder.
2a: Make New Windows the Default Rather Than Tabs
Another option is to disable the default Tab behavior and switch back to how things worked in OS X prior to Mavericks. To use this to open folders into new Folders is really a two part trick, the first of which requires a quick settings adjustment:
- From the Finder, go to the ‘Finder menu’ and choose “Preferences”
- Under the “General” tab uncheck the box for “Open folders in tabs instead of new windows”
Close out of the Finder preferences and now you can use a keyboard modifier to open a specific folders into new windows, the next part of this trick:
2b: Command + Double-Click to Open New Window
Just as it sounds, once you’ve disabled the “Open folders in tabs instead of new windows” behavior, hold down the Command key and then double-click to open a folder as usual this will instantly launch it into a new window, rather than a new tab.
It’s essential to perform the 2a settings change first, otherwise this will just open the folder into a tab instead.
Bonus Option 3: Use Simplified Finder Windows
Finally, you can also choose to hide the Finder window toolbar to greatly simplify the appearance of Finder windows, which also happens to cause double-clicking on all Folders to launch into new windows. This behavior is how navigating the file system worked on the Mac prior to OS X in the ‘Classic’ experience of Mac OS. But the downside to this approach of course is that you lose the sidebar and the toolbar, both of which are very useful to have around.