After downloading a PDF, Preview automatically opens and I'm able to look at the file. Often times I want to move the file to somewhere other than Downloads.

In Mavericks I'm able to click on the title and choose a new location in the drop down under the Where: item as shown in the screenshot. Title bar drop down in Preview with Name, Tags and Where fields

If I already have a Finder window open to the folder where I want to move the file it would be faster to just drag the icon from the title bar to the Finder. However, the default behavior is to create an alias. I've tried using modifier keys to make this a copy operation instead of an alias but without success.

Is there a trick to make this work or should I be submitting an enhancement request to Apple?

  • That's odd. When I open a PDF in Preview and drag using the proxy icon in the title bar, it moves the original file. I know in MS Word you have to make sure the file is saved to disk before you try to do that though.
    – samh
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


Hold down the alt (option) key before dropping the icon in the Finder. That copies it for me, and that's been standard behavior in the Finder forever.

  • Huh, that's wierd; tried that before but it didn't work - turns out it doesn't appear to work every time for me, more like 80%. Also the mouse pointer moves back and forth between the "copy" pointer and the "alias" pointer. Don't know why.. hope there's nothing wrong with my keyboard.
    – Asmus
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 19:34
  • That effect is "normal" (well, Apple needs to fix it), so don't worry about it. But I am quite sure that holding option down will ALWAYS copy, even if the cursor does not show the (+) sometimes. Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 19:41
  • I hit much less than the 80% that @Asmus got. I had 10-15% success. I use a plugin called TotalFinder and I thought maybe that played into it but in opening a clean Finder window I still had the same success rate.
    – cclark
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 3:39
  • Additional data point -- I often use an Apple Bluetooth keyboard. When using the left alt/option key I see the behavior of a link. When using the built in keyboard or the right alt/option key on the BT keyboard it seems to work 100% of the time.
    – cclark
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 3:45

Don't drag the small icon in the window titlebar, drag the miniature icon of the image on the sidebar instead (if you don't see the miniatures, select it from the "view" menu or press cmd+alt+2). Be aware that this won't move but copy the file.

The greatest advantage of this is that with miniatures, you can drag single pages out of PDF files (or even join PDFs at specific pages if you drag the other way around).

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