Do you want to easily move your files and folders around on your Mac? There are several ways to do this – we’re going to walk through the easiest and best methods. Just a quick note before we start – the screenshots you will see below are taken using macOS High Sierra. So, as you move files from one folder to another there may be some slight differences if you have a different version of macOS.
In general, there are three common ways to move files: Drag and drop, copy and paste, and by using the terminal.
Drag and drop
The easiest way to move files around on your Mac is by dragging and dropping. This allows you to simply click and hold on a file and move it to another place – or, in this case, drop it into a folder to organize it. Once you have it where you want it to go, you can stop holding the button on the mouse and the file will be moved to this new location.
If you select several files at once by clicking and dragging over them, you can drag all of them at once into a new folder. This makes cleaning up and organizing your computer very straightforward.
Copy and paste
If you want to have your files in more than one place, copy and paste is the way to go. You might want to be able to do this to keep a local copy of a file on your computer while moving another to an external drive, you might want to copy something from your computer to put in the cloud, or you might just want to have more than one copy of the same file in different locations on your Mac.
First, you need to find the file that you want to copy. In the example to the right, you can see a file called “Hi” on the desktop. If you were to right-click it, you’d see a contextual menu pop up with options to move the file to another place. If you click “copy”, it’ll leave the original file in its current location and create another copy of the file that you’ll be able to place where you’d like it to go.
Now you have to find where you want to place the copy of the file. If you open a folder and right-click on a blank space once it’s open, you can choose “Paste Item” from the contextual menu – the duplicated file will appear there. That's all there is to it!
You may be wondering what would happen if you duplicated the file and then placed it on the desktop next to the original file. To make things easier for you, your Mac will change the file name slightly so that you’re able to tell them apart from one another.
How to use terminal to move files and folders
You can also use the terminal to move files and folders. For this, you’ll need the terminal command mv. Don’t be afraid, it’s a neat option which is actually pretty straightforward. But before using it, make sure you know which files you want to move, their exact location, and their desired destination. Imagine that you need to move all files and folders from your Downloads folder to your Videos folder. To do this, you’d follow these steps:
1. Enter Terminal in Spotlight
2. Type the following command and press enter: mv -v ~/Downloads/* ~/Videos/
That’s it – the files have been moved!
The Bottom Line
It’s great when your Mac is neatly organized, right? It can be a tricky process and sometimes you end up with more of a mess than you started with. Any of these three various ways that we’ve taught you will help you organize your Mac easily. So go ahead and get your Mac closer to an organized life!