Here is how to copy files and folders on Mac. You can copy a folder or file on a Mac in a variety of ways. You may want to make a copy of a file, edit another version of the file, or keep separate folders that you share. We’ll show how to copy or paste files and folders using Terminal, keyboard shortcuts and drag-and drop.
1. Right-clicking on Mac (Shortcut Menu)
You can also use the right-click menu or shortcut to copy and paste folders and files on macOS.
- Click on the item, or hold control down and click.
- Select Copy from the menu.
- Click on the right-click or hold control to click.
- Select Paste Item from the menu.
Click and select Duplicate. This will copy the file or directory and add “copy” to the name.
2. Using Mac keyboard shortcut
You can copy and paste shortcuts to files and folders if you are a fan of keyboard short cuts on Mac.
- To copy a folder or file, press Command + C Press the button at the location where you wish to save the file. Command + V .
- Press Command+D in order to copy or duplicate a file/folder at the same location.
3. Drag-and-drop to copy and paste on Mac
Drag-and-drop is a simple way to move items around your Mac. Did you know that you can also copy files and folders using this action with just one additional step?
- Hold the file or folder you want to copy in your hand. You can also choose to buy a product. Release the key when you have the item in the desired position.
- This allows you to copy between windows or within the folders of a single window. You can also copy to and from the desktop, between Finder Tabs, or even the Finder Sidebar.
- For example, you can hold and Option while dragging the file My File.rtf from one window (folder) to another. Release the mouse button to quickly create a -copy.
4. Use the menu bar (menu) to access the Finder
Menu bar: You can also copy files and folders using shortcut menus and keyboard shortcuts. Follow these steps after Finder has been opened.
- Choose the folder or file you wish to copy, and then click Edit Copy the “name” from the menu bar.
- Click Edit and then Paste Item on the menu bar.
5. Use Terminal on Mac
You can copy items to another location using the Copy command.
- Launch Terminal using Utilities.
- Use the commands after replacing the file names or folders with your own.
- This command will copy the My-File.rtf file from the Desktop to the Documents directory.
cp ~/Desktop/My-File.rtf ~/Documents
- You can run the command by pressing Return. Your file will be copied into the folder you specified.
To copy an entire folder in Terminal, type the folder and location of the source folder and then the folder and location of the destination folder.
- You can use this command to copy a folder called CopyThisFolder from the Documents folder and place it on the Desktop:
cp -R ~/Documents/CopyThisFolder ~/Desktop/
- To run the command you can press Return. You will see a copy in the destination location.
Bonus: Copying folders or files with the same names on Mac
You’ll get a warning if you try to copy a folder or file using the methods above, and it already exists in the same place.
The folders can be replaced or merged, or both files and folders can be kept.
We’re going to copy a file into a folder that already has a similar file. A pop-up window will ask you if the file should be kept, replaced, or stopped.
- Replace: Replace the original file with the copy.
- Keep Both: Keep both files, and rename one of them by adding a numerical suffix to its name.
- Stop: Do not copy this file.
You’ll also see a warning if you try to copy a folder that has the same name. You can choose to merge, replace or stop in this situation.
- Replace: Overwrites the existing folder by copying the one.
- Merge: Combine the folders to create a single folder containing all the items in both folders. Note: The Merge option will only appear if the folder you’re merging contains items the other doesn’t.
- Stop: Do not copy this folder.
Create copies within seconds!
MacOS makes it easy to copy and paste files, whether you’re looking to move a file or folder somewhere else. Let us know your favorite method for copying and pasting files on Mac using the keyboard, Terminal and shortcut menu.