Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

How to copy and paste file paths in Mac Finder

by @JoBrodie,

This is how I did it, on my set up. Your set up may vary and you might need to tweak things.

First catch your file path - copy
  • Open Finder and select the folder you're interested in saving stuff to, eg Me/Files/Folder/Subfolder
    - a neat trick I spotted, on doing the below, is that if there's a subsubfolder it it's better to get the file path from that (for some delightful reason the Mac ignores the folder you're currently in and gives you the file path for the one above it, so if you really want the one you're in, go one level down).
  • So go to Me/Files/Folder/Subfolder/subsubfolder and select subsubfolder (or any other file within Subfolder if you don't have a convenient subsubfolder)
  • Command Left-mouse-click will bring up the Options, look for 'Get Info' and click that
  • Copy and paste everything that appears in 'Where', it will have lots of /s in it
Save a file (from another programme) in that location - paste
  • Save your file as Save as and then in the 'Save file as'* window that opens up, click Command+Shift+G - this brings up an option to 'Go to the folder..' - at which point paste your folder's file path in and hit enter.
  • You'll now be either in the folder you want, or no more than one away from it.
  • Good luck.
*I'm saving a Thunderbird message as an .eml file so I've got 'Save Message As' on mine


These are the websites I used to find out how to do this, there are other suggestions in them so if this doesn't work have a look there and hopefully something else will. I found both by typing into Google Finder Mac copy path and Finder Mac paste path
When do I use this?
Since I don't see people regularly complaining about how fiddly this is and since I do these types of keystrokes constantly I have to assume that I'm in a minority so if anyone's wondering "what on earth do you want to do that for?" here's why.

Sometimes I want to save to 'Folder X' a new file that's arrived by email attachment. When I use the 'save as' option on the attached file the saving location the system currently points to may be a different folder (ie whatever I used last).

This doesn't worry me in the least on a PC as it's literally the work of sub-seconds to copy the file path (C:/blah/blah/blah/FolderX) from the File Manager ('Windows Explorer') that I already had open, paste it into the location option in the 'save as' window, hit return and let the new file join its folder-mates successfully.

It doesn't seem to be the work of seconds on a Mac and I've been (a) saving stuff to do in the office on my 'real' computer or (b) bludgeoning my way through it by just double-clicking each sodding folder to get to where I want to save it, while cursing.

I've found the above workaround, it's still not as efficient as Windows (and of course now I have to remember a bunch of new key strokes to do it) but it seems to work.

This is so ridiculously easy on a PC with Windows 7 and is one of only several reasons that my next laptop wil be Windows and not a Mac. Others include the fact that the 'Paint' equivalent seems to be unusable, 'Notepad' is OK but I don't like it very much and the lack of a forward delete key is almost defenestration-worthy. Mildly more fiddly to get a # symbol too. Oh and 'Print Screen' on a PC is a single button click whereas on a Mac you have to click four to capture the screen or window in a format that you can then paste (ie one that has been copied to the clipboard). I think it's only three if you want to save it to the desktop. Possibly the other way round, don't really care, awful ;)

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