Add Items to the Mac Finder Window Toolbar with a Drag & Drop Trick

Aug 15, 2014 - 5 Comments

Customized Mac Finder window toolbar

Few Mac users seem to know it, but the Finder window toolbars of Mac OS X can be customized to serve as a quick-launch panel. You can store almost anything in the Finder toolbar, whether it’s an app, a directory, automator action, network share, a website bookmark, or even a frequently accessed document. Adding items to the Finder toolbar is easy, and you don’t need to go through the traditional View menu > Customize Toolbar method. Instead, you can quickly add items using this great drag and drop trick.

To add any new item to the Finder toolbars, simply hold down the command key and drag the item into the toolbar. A green plus icon will appear indicating the item will be added, and when you see that you can let go of the cursor button to keep the item in place.

You must be holding down the Command key for this to work, otherwise the folder, app, or document will simply bounce off the toolbar and go nowhere, not to be stored up there.

Add items to the Finder window toolbar with drag and drop

Once an item has been added, it will carry over to every active Finder window. All new Finder windows will also have the item in the toolbar.

You can put the apps, documents, shares, scripts, folders, and other items anywhere within the toolbar, but to reduce clutter and confusion it can be a good idea to keep them grouped together in a convenient place, like all on the right side. This is what they’ll look like, neatly tucked together:

Add whatever to the Finder toolbar for quick access

Try this yourself with apps, folders, documents, whatever you want to have quick access to, but that doesn’t necessarily belong in the Finder window sidebars, or the broader Mac OS X Dock.

Apps and folders within the Finder toolbar also support drag and drop for quick launching, access, or storage of files.

As you may have guessed already, removing toolbar accessories can be done in the same manner with a simple command+drag trick too – and that even works on the default buttons that are included in the Finder toolbar.

These features have been around in Mac OS X for a long time but don’t get enough use, so try them out! Or if you’re not into the toolbar at all, you can always hide the toolbar completely from Finder windows which makes Mac OS X behave much more like older versions of Mac OS, from System 9 and before, meaning newly opened folder opens in it’s own window, and there is no back/forward button or other quick access controls. It’s up to you, happy customizing.


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


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  1. Kris says:

    If you put the Mail app in the toolbar you can simply drag and drop an image (or whatever kind of document) to the icon and it will open a new e-mail with the image as an attachment.

  2. Nilesh Parmar says:

    finally its back, this was achievable in the pre-OS Xbefore mavericks. But great tip.

  3. t3d says:

    So cool, thanks!!!

  4. Kevin says:

    Or you could put them in the Finder sidebar as well.

  5. Ted says:

    Wow, this is TOTALLY kool! Thanks for the tip!

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