Mac OS X: Supercharge Open/Save Dialogs with Keyboard Shortcuts

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We’re all familiar with the Mac OS X Open/Save dialog box. It’s ubiquitous. It’s omnipresent. It’s like Snooki—you just can’t get away from seeing it, no matter how hard you try. And I’ve tried SO HARD, believe me. Oh, with Snooki, not with the dialog box.

If any box you come across looks like this, click on the disclosure triangle to reveal more options.


Did you know, however, that you can use a bunch of keyboard shortcuts while that dialog box is open? My favorite shortcut while I’m there is Command-Shift-D to jump to my Desktop, but here are a few others that I find useful:

Command-Shift-H: Jumps to your Home folder

Command-Shift-A: Jumps to your Applications folder

Command-Shift-G: Allows you to type in the path to a folder

Command-Shift-N: Creates a new folder (and asks you to name it)

Command-Shift-Period: Shows/hides hidden files

Escape: Cancels without saving or opening

Here’s your typical view when you’re opening a file from within a program. At the bottom, I’ve used the Command-Shift-D shortcut to go to my Desktop. Go me!

I think you’ll find that once you start using these shortcuts, you’ll never go back to the innocent days before you knew how. You remember, right? When you used to scroll down to find your Desktop in the Sidebar? Or when you’d cancel out of the dialog, create a new folder to put your file in, and then go back to your application and attempt your save again? Yeah, me too.



I thought plain, old Command-D would jump to Desktop (no need for Shift). Could be wrong. As usual can’t test till I get home tonight.

Melissa Holt

Could be wrong.

You’re not wrong, ilikeimac; it’ll completely work that way. But I like using the Shift key in this instance because all of the other shortcuts listed either do nothing without the extra modifier key or do something totally different (Command-H, for example, hides the program; Command-Period dismisses the dialog). If I just remember that I add the Shift key to all modifiers to use them within the Open/Save Box, it makes it easier for me.

You may be a better memorizer than I am. smile


Love these, so useful.

My personal favorite is Command-R which will open a separate finder window for the selected item.  Handy for renaming, copying or any other bit of file management you might want to do when performing an open / save action….

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