How To Copy and Paste Files In the Mac Finder

Instead of dragging and dropping files to move them in the Finder, you can simply use Copy and Paste. This will create a copy of the file in the new location. But if you hold down the option key, this moves the file instead. This is similar to cutting and pasting files in other operating systems. You can copy and paste multiple files.

Comments: 8 Responses to “How To Copy and Paste Files In the Mac Finder”

    Mr. Luigi
    6 years ago

    Have you ever tried Yoink? It's file management features are a huge boost to workflow on the Mac. I use it all the time.

    6 years ago

    Luigi: Looks interesting. I'll have to check them out. Thanks,

    Steve Maynard
    6 years ago

    A question on basic file mechanics: If I copy and paste a file into a second (or third) folder, is the basic file itself copied or is there simply a new pathway connection to the basic file created? I ask because I sometimes want to have copies of the same document in two or more folders -- but am concerned that in so doing I'm actually duplicating the basic file and therefore using up more HDD disc space.

    6 years ago

    Steve: Short answer is you are duplicating the files. You end up with identical files A and B. You change B, but A remains the same. You can use an alias to create a link to a file in a second location (A is the file, B is a link to that file). See
    You can also use tags instead as a form of organization if you want to do this often.

    6 years ago

    HI Gary,

    Very timely, informative and effective post.
    Thanks - I was wondering how to do this
    yesterday. It’d really be nice if it could be
    done via a context menu command.


    6 years ago

    Thanks,Gary ;-) I've been missing that command (move the item)since I left Windows for good and always wondering how on Earth Apple does not have something so useful.

    6 years ago

    Bob: You can do with with context menu commands too. Context menus on files bring up a "copy" option and then context menus on folders and blank areas in windows bring up "paste" or "move" if you hold down the Option key.

    Ian Leckie
    6 years ago

    i´d just like to second what Mr. Luigi said...Yoink is the most useful piece of software, tiny and so easy to use! Together with Copy & Paste one is covered for all situations! Well worth your time to have a look at it, and worth the ca. $8, imho! Here's the developer´s site:

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