When duplicating files in the finder, OS X attaches a space followed by 'copy' to the file name. This can lead to some file alphabetizing problems and the copies may appear out of order (not directly subsequent to the original). Is there a way to change the appended text? I would prefer that it says '_1' or _copy. Thanks.

  1. Open /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/

    Use Show Package Contents to browse the package in Finder, or open using Terminal, etc.

  2. Open Localizable.strings in BBEdit or other editor capable of editing .strings files.

  3. N4 contains the string that is used to name the duplicate file.

    ^0 copy

    ^0 is the previous file's name. Make sure to keep this to retain the name of the previous file.

  4. Edit the string how you wish. For example, to duplicate test as test_copy instead of test copy, use…

  5. Save and relaunch Finder.

    killall -HUP Finder
  • However great this answer is, it should be noted that 1) It is a hack and not an official OS X functionality, 2) reinstalling the system, or updating will probably return the value to its default.
    – Frizlab
    Nov 17 '13 at 10:46
  • Thanks grgarside. Works for me. @Frizlab, is this really a problem worth noting? Apple is continuing to remove complexity and yet we must pursue the features we want. How else but to hack?
    – syncr
    Nov 23 '13 at 23:52
  • I have Mountain Lion, I opened /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/ Contents/Resources/English.lproj/Localizable.strings but it doesn't have either N4 nor ^0 copy, where could it be? (I do use the OS in English)
    – Petruza
    Aug 12 '14 at 14:45
  • @Petruza What app did you open the strings file in?
    – grg
    Aug 12 '14 at 14:46
  • @GeorgeGarside TextWrangler, it correctly opens it as a text file, I can see all the strings there, but not these. Oh, I see it's kind of a binary file, but TextWrangler correctly opens it as a XML plist file.
    – Petruza
    Aug 12 '14 at 14:47

2020: macOS Catalina Version

As mentioned above this is a hack and will disappear with the next update you do on your mac.  

  1. Create a copy of the file specifying the Finder language specific texts. i.e. to the Desktop
cp /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Resources/en.lproj/Localizable.strings ~/Desktop/


  1. Open with BBEdit
bbedit ~/Desktop/Localizable.strings


  1. Search for <key>N4_V1</key> and replace <string>^=1 copy</string> as desired and described above and save the file.


  2. Disable rootless as shown here.

    • Reboot with Command + R keys into Recovery Mode
    • open a Terminal, disable rootless and restart
csrutil disable; reboot


  1. After reboot, make your Macintosh HD writeable as described here
sudo mount -uw /
killall Finder
  1. Copy your change file to the original location and restart Finder as mentioned above:
sudo cp ~/Desktop/Localizable.strings /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Resources/en.lproj/Localizable.strings
killall -HUP Finder


  1. Enable rootless as shown here.
    • Reboot with Command + R keys into Recovery Mode
    • open a Terminal, enable rootless and restart
csrutil enable; reboot


Enjoy a simplified workflow :-)


Option + drag a file into the same directory.

Or option + drag a file into the directory that contains a file with the same name and select keep both.

These actions will append a number "2" without the word copy. If a file with a "2" exists the Finder will append a "3" instead!

You could also multiple-select and then Option + drag into the same directory and the numbers will all increment nicely. It's beautiful.


Another option is duplicate the file and copy the text for its name to the clipboard for use later. Then select all the files you want to be numbered, adjust the sort column to make them in the order you'd like. Then still with the files selected right click and choose Rename...

Choose Format, Name and Index, After Name, Start at 1, paste your name text into Custom Format and add a space.

Now your files will all have a numbered suffix from 1 to x.

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