Save to a Target Directory or Buried Path in Mac OS X the Fast Way

Mar 18, 2013 - 3 Comments

Have you ever wished you could quickly save a file to a target directory, one that had a lengthy path buried somewhere deep in OS X? It turns out that by using the excellent Go To Folder shortcut, you can do exactly that, and if you know the destination path or have it in your clipboard, you don’t even need to click around in the Save dialog window to navigate through those deep directory structures.

Save to Target Destination By Specifying a Full Path

Here’s how to use the Go To Folder feature in a Save dialog to immediately save a file to a target destination, without navigating there:

  • Go to Save a file as usual (Save As and Export work too)
  • At the Save dialog window, hit Command+Shift+G to summon the Go To Folder hover window
  • Paste in the desired path, for example ~/Desktop/test/folder/ and hit return
  • Hit return again to save the file to that destination

Save to a target directory faster in Mac OS X

If you already know the path you want to send something to, this can be so much faster than clicking around in the Save window to get somewhere. This is an excellent trick to use for automated actions through bash scripts and Automator.

File Names Can Be Included in Path

This can be improved upon even further by specifying a file name in the path as well, meaning something like this:


By having a file name included in the path, it will immediately be adopted. Note that including a file extension must be consistent with the file type, or else you’ll end up with a double extension like NotAnymore.txt.rtf

Tab Completion, Drag & Drop, & More

Those coming from a unix background should be thrilled to discover that Tab completion is included in the Go To window. And if you have a Finder window open already, you can drag and drop that into the Go To folder to print the full path. You can read more about those features and the Go To Folder keyboard shortcut in general, a powerful keyboard shortcut that also works in the OS X Finder and even Open dialog windows too. It’s easily one of the better tricks of power users, but it’s easy enough to pick up that anyone can use it once they get the hang of it.

Not quite sure how this works? The short video below demonstrates the basic workflow by saving an RTF file to a buried path on the desktop, without having to click through the Dialog boxes to access the target directory:

Thanks to Arno for the tip idea


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


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  1. ken says:

    even quicker: just start typing the path with either a tilde or slash.

  2. Jeff says:

    You can actually skip the go to folder part of this hint. If you drag the folder from the background in to the save dialog box, it actually changes to that directory for you!
    So, while ‘go to folder’ is handy – you can skip it for this particular task.

  3. Eric says:

    I do something simular… If the Finder window/folder is open in Finder I usually just drag’n’drop the destination folder on the dropmenu, and it sets the path.

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