How to Browse Files on a Mac

If you need to find, move, copy, or delete files on your Mac, you’ll need to use Finder, which is similar to File Explorer in Windows. We’ll show you some basics on how to browse and manage files.

Find files with Finder

Finder is a special application on your Mac that lets you manage files. The easiest way to open it is to click its icon on your macOS dock. The icon looks like a smiling blue face.

When you click on it, a Finder window opens. You can also have multiple Finder windows open at the same time. To do this, select File > New Finder Window from the menu bar (or press Command+N on your keyboard).

Using a Finder window, you can browse your Mac’s files by double-clicking folders, then using the back arrow in the upper left corner (“<") to return to a previous folder .

In the Finder on Mac, use the Go menu and click "Residence."

As you browse, you’ll notice “breadcrumbs” (a list of folder locations) in the path bar at the bottom of the Finder window. This shows your current location in the file path. (If you don’t see the path bar, choose View > Show Path Bar from the menu bar.)

In the Finder, use the path bar to see the location of your current path.

You can also quickly access locations in the Finder. One way is to use the “Go” menu in the menu bar, which lets you quickly navigate to different folder locations on your Mac, like your “Home” folder.

In the Finder on Mac, use the Go menu and click "Residence."

You can also navigate quickly using the sidebar located in any Finder window. This sidebar is usually full of shortcuts to important locations like images, downloads, and documents.

To use it, click on any of the items in the sidebar list and the Finder window will instantly display the contents of that location. (If you don’t see the sidebar, choose View > Show Sidebar from the menu bar or press Ctrl+Command+S.)

In the Finder, use the sidebar for quick navigation.

If you prefer to view your files in a different way (like a list instead of icons and thumbnails), click the icons that look like small groups of squares at the top of any Finder window. You can also use them to change how files are sorted, such as alphabetically or by file type.

And finally, if you need to find a specific file on your Mac, you can quickly search it by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of any Finder window. After entering a search query, you will see the results below.

In the Finder, use the search bar to find files and folders.

Another great way to find documents or apps on your Mac is to use Spotlight, which you can access by clicking the magnifying glass icon in your menu bar (or pressing Command-Space).

RELATED: How to Quickly Launch a Mac App with Spotlight

Copying and deleting files

It’s easy to move, copy, or delete files in the Finder using click-and-drag techniques. To move a file between two folders, drag a file icon from one Finder window to another. If you drag an item between Finder windows on different drives (like the one in the sidebar), a new copy of the file or folder will be created and the original item will remain in its original location.

Drag the files onto the name of the USB flash drive in your Finder's sidebar.

You can also copy files by right-clicking a file and selecting “Copy” in the source folder, then right-clicking a destination folder and selecting “Paste.”

Right click on a file and select "Copy."

To delete a file in the Finder, drag the file’s icon from the Finder window onto the trash icon in your dock. Or you can select it and choose File > Move to Trash from the menu bar.

You’ve seen the basics of browsing and managing files on your Mac with Finder, but there’s a lot more to explore. For example, at any time, you can change Finder preferences by choosing Finder > Preferences from the menu bar (or pressing Command-Comma). Good navigation !

RELATED: How to “Cut and Paste” Files on Mac


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