How to move files and folders on Mac? 4 Ways explained in {2024}

If you wish to arrange your Mac’s files and folders, you may need to move some items about. You may rearrange objects in a variety of ways to create a structure for your files that can enhance productivity or help you find what you’re searching for faster.

You’ll learn how to move folders and files on macOS by using the shortcut menu, Terminal or drag-and drop. You can choose the method that makes sense to you or is most comfortable for you.

How to transfer files and folders on a Mac using drag-and-drop

Drag-and-drop is the easiest way to move folders and files on Mac. This method is used to re-arrange icons, shortcuts, widgets and shortcuts in your desktop. It also works for moving items on macOS.

Move between two open windows

You can drag a file between two windows by. You’ll be able to see the file or folder in its new position when you release the mouse button.

How to move files and folders on Mac? 4 Ways explained in {2024}

Move folders and files in the same window

You can also move items within the same window. For example, you could move a folder into a subfolder. To move the object to the desired spot, drag it up or downWhen the file is within the folder, release it.

Use tabs to navigate in the Finder app

Tabs are also available in Finder to move a folder or file. Drag to the tab opposite the one you are currently on and release.

How to move files and folders on Mac? 4 Ways explained in {2024}

Use the sidebar in the Finder app

You can also drag and drop items within the Finder sidebar. Drag the item to the sidebar position you wish it to be moved.

Move files or folders that have the same name

You’ll be notified if you try to move a folder or file into a place where there is already a folder with the same name. You can then choose whether to keep or replace the files, or to replace or merge folders. Here’s how it works.

Drag-and-drop is used to move the file into a folder that already contains a similar file. A message will appear asking you if the file should be replaced, kept both or stopped.

How to move files and folders on Mac? 4 Ways explained in {2024}

  • Replace : Overwrites the existing file by the one that has been moved.
  • Keep Both : Keep both files, and rename one of them by adding the word “copy” after the file name.
  • Stop : Do not move this file.

You have a second option to move a folder that has the same name. Like with files, you can replace, stop or merge folders.

  • Replace : Overwrites the existing folder by the one that has been moved.
  • Merge : Combine both folders to create a single folder that contains all the items. Merge is only available if the folders contain items that are not in the other.
  • Stop : Do not move this folder.

How to use the Mac’s right-click menu to transfer files and folders

A new folder is another way to move files and folders in Mac. When you move folders into a new folder, the items you moved become subfolders. This can be done easily by using the shortcut menu or the right-click menu.

  • Select the files or folders by selecting one of the options below:
    • Choose adjacent items by selecting the first item, holding Shift and selecting the last in the group.
    • Hold Command while selecting each item.
  • To display the menu, click or hold control while clicking.
  • Select New Folder with Selection (X Items).

How to move files and folders on Mac? 4 Ways explained in {2024}

  • Give the folder a new name and click Return.

The folder you just created will now contain your files and folders.

How to use Terminal to transfer files and folders

Terminal is a great way to manage your Mac. Terminal commands allow you to move files and folders.

  • Launch Terminal from Launchpad, or Applications-Utilities.
  • To relocate a file or folder, utilize the Move command by specifying the current location and the desired destination. Essentially, this command provides a concise representation of the file or folder path.
    • This instruction will transfer the file My-File.rtf, for instance, from the Documents folder to the Desktop directory:

mv ~/Desktop/My-File.rtf ~/Documents

  • You should now see the file at its new location.

Use the names and locations of the folders to move the folder.

  • The following command will move the folder New from the Desktop folder into the Documents folder:

mv ~/Desktop/New ~/Documents/New2

  • You should be able to see the first folder moving into the second when you press Return.

How to use the Mac title bar to transfer files or folders

The title bar is another way to move items on your Mac. It only works with files, but it gives you an easy way to select its new location. Here are a few examples with different apps.

We’ll first move the Pages document to a new location.

  • Select the Arrow icon located in the title bar
  • Enter the new location or select it in the Where box.
  • Click and then return to move your file.

How to move files and folders on Mac? 4 Ways explained in {2024}

Another example is to move a Microsoft Word document.

  • Select the Arrow icon located in the title bar.
  • Enter the new location or select it in the Place box.
  • Click and then return to move your file.

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You can move your document easily using the title bar method, even though the name of the location field may differ depending on the application.

Move objects with ease

You can move files and folders quickly and easily on your Mac, whether you use a single method or combine several. You can create a sensible folder structure, put frequently used folders in your desktop and search for files more quickly with a simple movement. Tell us which method you prefer to move files or folders.

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