Mac File Save Power User Tips

When you save a file you get to assign a name and pick a location. The standard save dialog provides a lot of power user techniques that most people don't know about. You can harness the power of Finder windows to choose a location, you can use keyboard shortcuts to jump to locations and cancel. You can click on existing files to inherit the same name.

Video Transcript
So you've just created a document in pretty much any app. Pages, Numbers, Keynote, PhotoShop, Word. Whatever it is. You're going to go and save the document. You're going to choose File, Save or Command S. When you do you're going to get the Save Dialogue. The Save Dialogue allows you to name the file and decide where the file goes. Now the Save Dialogue has two modes. You may not see all of this. You may see something that looks like this. This is the compact mode and it only gives you the option to really Save and then choose from a limited number of locations where to save it. Like for instance your Documents folder or some Recent Places. Things like that.

But if you want to see the full Save Dialogue click here. This little button allows you to go between the two modes and now you see a mini Finder window. This Finder window allows you to go and navigate to any folder you can get to through the normal Finder window. So you can choose where to save the file. Not only can you expand to this mode but you can also change the size here. You can grab this like a normal window. I'm going to grab the bottom corner here and I can shrink and grow this as well. So if it's not large enough for you or maybe it's covering up something that you want to see when choosing a file name you can play around with that by grabbing one of the corners there at the bottom and moving it around.

Now also in this window, since it's like a Finder window, you get to use a lot of finder like things. Like, for instance, you have all the stuff on the sidebar including all your favorites. So if you have an important folder and you've added it to your Favorites so you can find it easily in the Finder you can also find it easily and be able to click on it here to jump right to it and Save your file there. So it makes your Favorites that much more useful. You can access everything else in the sidebar as well including, you know, your iCloud locations, network locations, things like that.

You can do other things as well. You can go between Finder views. Click here and I can go to Icon View for instance. List View. You can even sort the files in List View. You can go to the Column View. You can even group things here. So I can group by Name or Kind or whatever. Hide or Show extensions. Everything. So you get a lot of the functionality you get in the Finder.

You also have the ability to create a new folder. There's a New Folder button here and a New Folder button here. There's two of them. So you can create a new folder right here while saving a file instead of having to go to the Finder in the middle of doing this to create a new folder and put it in. So it's a nice thing not to have to leave this interface to go to another one just to create a new folder.

You also get to choose from Recent Places here. You get a shorter list than you do, you know, if you go here which is this long list. But you should always look at your Recent Places. Chances are if you're working on a project there's a folder you're using. When you create a new file you're going to want to save it to that folder. It's very useful to go there. I use that all the time. And you can Search. You can search for folders names. You can also search for file names. So if you don't know the location but you know the names of other files in that location you can search for it. Get the results here and then use that to be able to save the file.

Now there's a ton of keyboard shortcuts that come along with this as well. The keyboard shortcuts are the same ones that are in the Finder. So in the Finder, I'll just switch by clicking on the Desktop. I'll open up a Finder window and you can see under Go there's all of these different Go commands. Like, for instance, Shift Command D goes to the Desktop. Going to your Home folder is Shift Command H. If I switch back to the File Dialogue here, if I do Shift Command D it can see it jumps to the Desktop. Shift Command H jumps to my Home folder. I even have the Back and Forward buttons here. So I can use those like in the Finder as well.

Now you also have keyboard shortcuts for the buttons here at the bottom. Of course just hitting Return will Save it. You can also do Command S to save. So if you like the idea of doing Command S and then doing Command S again that will work. Cancel you can do with Command period which is the universal shortcut for using a cancel button in a dialogue. You can also choose Command R to jump to a folder. So I can select this folder here and do Command R. It brings up the folder in the Finder. So in case I want to look in to see what else is in the folder I can do that really quickly like that. You also have Command Shift G which brings up Go To The Folder and you can type a path name or view recently typed ones.

You have the ability, as well, to do keyboard commands for editing text. So if you're in here working on the text, for instance, I can use the Forward arrows, Backward arrows, Command A to select all and you can use anything you usually use to edit text while editing the file name. I can also drag and drop from the Finder windows into the Save Dialogue. So, for instance, here I've got a Finder window open and I can say, well I want to save this into the personal folder but instead of navigating to it I can just drag and drop the folder into anywhere in this middle area. By doing so it changes the location to the location of that folder. I use that all the time as well.

I saved the best for last. This is something I use everyday when I make these videos. Say you have a folder here and the folder has a project name, right, that you're working on. You already have files in here that represent the project. So in this case it's using like a date kind of format and then the name for it. If i click on that, you can see I can't select it because I'm trying to save something not open something, but if I click on this grayed out file name it replaces the name that I'm using to save this file. Now, of course, you don't want to save over the existing file but that's not a problem because these are different file types. This is a JPEG image and I'm trying to save a Pages document. So when I clicked on this it took the name but instead of dot JPEG it did dot Pages.

So now I can save my Pages document with the same name as the image. I'm doing this when I create my videos. I have text files. I've got videos. I've got screen flow documents. I use the same file name for all of them and put them in the same folder. I only ever type that name once. After that I'm just clicking on the grayed out text here. Like I click here another file. A project list you can see it's changing to be whatever the name is and then with the proper extension. So I just use that and never have to name the file by typing again and I'm guaranteed to get file names that match.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Mac File Save Power User Tips”

    Dan
    1 month ago

    The initial save from the menu is Save… meaning Save As, but they exclude the Save As from the menu if you open an existing document and you want to save the same data with a different file name. If you rename the current version, it renames the existing saved file. If you use Help and ‘save as’ you can locate in ‘finder’ and click on it or use the keyboard shortcut-(not available in Notes). Why “save as” was not included in newer versions is unclear.

    1 month ago

    Dan: To get Save As, hold the Option key as you select the File menu.

    Norman
    1 month ago

    Thanks — very useful…especially that last tip! A little off topic but I notice in your finder window in the Save dialogue box you have the Pages app there. What’s the advantage of having it there as opposed to normally in the Applications folder?

    1 month ago

    Norman: That’s not the Page app, but the Pages folder in iCloud.

    Carlos Ramos
    4 weeks ago

    I wish I could have the same in Finder. A good number of times I tried searching a file in Finder and it was not as easy as in Pages.

    4 weeks ago

    Carlos: Which feature do you mean, exactly? I think everything I talk about in this tutorial is available in the Finder. After all, the Save dialog is just a subset of a Finder window.

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