9/23/209:00 am 10 Ways To Use Mac Finder Aliases Mac Finder Aliases, also known as Shortcuts, allow you to access a file or folder from a different location. There are a variety of useful and creative ways to use aliases. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let's look at ten uses for Mac Finder Aliases. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 750 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. Now if you've never used Aliases before in the Finder they are ways to create links to files so you can access them in other places. On Windows these are called shortcuts. You can create Aliases one of four ways. You can select a file and then choose File and then Make Alias and that makes the alias right there. If you look closely at the icon you'll see that there's a little curved arrow at the bottom left hand corner of the icon letting you know that's an alias. You can change the name to whatever you want. It doesn't have to stay the same as the original file. But you can access it the same way as you do the original file. Double clicking on this file will open it up. But also double clicking on the alias will open it up as well. Another way to create an alias, you may have noticed here there's a keyboard shortcut, is Control Command A. You can also Control click on any file. Then choose Make Alias there from the Context Menu. In addition to that when you drag a file, you can put it anywhere you want like say on the Desktop, if you hold Command Option you'll see the curved arrow there and when you drop it it creates an alias instead of moving or copying the original file. So that's actually use number one for Aliases. You can put an alias to a file on the Desktop. So if you have everything arranged neatly in the Documents folder, like I do here, you don't want to move the file out of its folder but you also want the convenience of accessing it from the Desktop you can drag and drop it an alias to the Desktop. Now even if I don't have a Finder window open or I'm not looking at that particular folder I can access this file by double clicking on it. You can also use that to access the file in another folder. So, for instance, say if you find everyday you're working in this folder here but you also need to access a special file that's somewhere else, like here. I could create a new alias for that file and then I can move it into the other folder. Now when I'm in that folder I have access to that file right there. I don't have to go and leave this folder and go find it wherever it's located. Now you could also use aliases on folders, not just for files. So, for instance, say here in my Project Alpha folder I need to regularly access under Media my sample Photos folder. I can create an alias for that. This time I'm going to hold the Command and Option keys and drag. I'm going to go into my work projects folder Project Alpha and drop it in there. Now I have an alias to the sample Photos folder so I can access those files. Even here in Column View I can see the list of files and it looks like I'm still in my Project Alpha folder. Makes it really convenient if you have several folders that you need to access while you're working on a certain project you can create aliases to them so you have quick easy access to them right in here. I can even add files to this folder right here through the alias and actually go into the folder even though it looks like I'm inside the Project Alpha folder here. Now you can use this to create collections of folders. So for instance I'll create a new folder here. I'll call it Common Folders. In there I can put a variety of different aliases. Let's put an alias to Nature Photos. I'll use Command Option to drag that in there. I'll also put an alias to Project Alpha. One to TPS Reports here. Now I go into Common Folders and I see those three locations there like they're under Common Folders even though none of them are. It's just aliases to the actual folders. So one thing I could do with this is I could drag and drop this folder I created over to my Favorites here. Now let's say I'm in an app and I create a new file. I go to Save it. Let's say there are some common locations where I save files. Those happen to be those folders there. I could easily click here to Common Folders and select any one of these places to save the file. It will save that in the actual folder even though these three folders are at very different locations on my drive. So you can kind of use a folder full of aliases as a Drop Zone to save things. If I wanted to I could even have put this Common Folders folder here on the Desktop instead. Then I can go into it and have the set of Drop Zones where I can drop different files into it. Thanks to Spring Loading I can even take a file like this, move it to Common Folders, wait a second, it will open this up and then I can drop it into the folder I need. I can do the same thing with files. So I can create a folder, I'll just call it Common Files. I can put various different aliases in here using Command Option and then access all of these from that one folder instead of going into the actual locations where they are. So you could see I have those three in there. Now whether I have a folder full of files or a folder full of folders I can add this to the right side of the Dock here. I'll add both of these and now I've got all of that stuff here in the Dock. I can access these files really easily from a stack in the Dock even though each of these files is in a separate location. Now you can also create aliases for apps. Now the Dock is kind of a set of aliases for apps already. So you don't really need it with your most common apps. But let's say your Dock is getting crowded. One of the things you can do is you can create a new folder, say in your Documents folder, and call it Other Apps. Then I could go, in a separate Finder window here, to the Applications folder and I could select apps here and drag and drop them holding the Command and Option to create aliases to those apps. The apps are still here in the Applications folder but now I've put aliases to them here. I can access them right from here but I could also drag this folder to the right side of the Dock and I have this other app stack here. Now I can launch other apps. You could see I've got four apps but you could have forty if you wanted to and they only take up one slot here in the Dock. Another thing you could do with aliases is you could create aliases for files that are on external drives as well. So I have an external drive here and let's say I want to have an alias for easy access to this folder here. I could drag and drop it with Option and Command to the Desktop. Instead of having to go and look for that drive and dig down to find that folder I could simply go in and open it up directly by double clicking on that folder. The alias will stay there even if the drive isn't connected. So you can have a consistent place where this appears whether the drive is connected or not. But, of course, you'll only be able to access it if the drive is connected at that moment. Now you could do the same thing for Network drives. So I'll click on Network here and there's my MacBook Pro. I can go and select a folder here. Let's say I wanted to create an alias to the Pictures folder on that other computer. I can do that. Now going into that alias will take me directly to that folder on that computer or a Network drive. Now if I disconnect to that computer I'll see it disappear from there but the alias stays there. It just no longer works but the folder is still there so I don't have to recreate it every time I connect. When that Network Drive or computer is available again I don't have to do anything special to reconnect to it. Just go right into that folder and it will automatically reconnect me. One more cool thing about aliases is you can move them. You could see this ClipArt and Media folder that links to an external drive there, I could take that and I can move that in here. I can move that somewhere else and it will always work. So I can keep moving it around or even duplicating it to make another copy of the alias and they both go to the same place. If you even want to go and see where the original folder for an alias is you can select it, go to File, then Show Original. It will jump and you could see now I'm actually in Media Nature Photos. You can also use Command i or File, Get Info and see information here. It will tell you the original location right there. You can even use a Select a New Original Button to reassign that alias to another folder or file. So I hope you found this look at using Finder Aliases on your Mac useful. They really come in handy if you have a lot of folders and subfolders and projects that commonly reuse and access different files in different locations on your drive or network. Related Subjects: Finder (285 videos), Productivity (57 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 4 Responses to “10 Ways To Use Mac Finder Aliases” Malcolm James 3 years ago What's the difference between aliases and symbolic links? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Malcolm: They are completely different things that serve similar purposes. Aliases are part of the macOS Finder and you create them in the Finder. They will follow as the file moves, among other things. Symbolic links are at the system level and you create those in the CLI of the Terminal. They won't follow as things change. Most Mac users would use aliases and never even need to know what a symbolic link is. But if you work with a CLI in Terminal you may need to use symbolic links for things, I suppose. Steve 3 years ago Great post! I always wondered what aliases were used for, but never took time to think it through. Thanks for doing that for the rest of us. Leigh Doss 2 years ago Gary, thanks so much for this video. I've avoided learning how to create what I used to think of as shortcuts on Windows because I just didn't take the time to even look for how to do it. Today I finally got on your site and found aliases! Very useful and just what I was looking for. Comments Closed.