I want a folder to be always opened in a tab instead of new window. The reason I want this is so that I have only one Finder window with multiple tabs. If apps keeps on opening new window you may miss the opened folder. New to mac so wondering how to do.

I am using OS X 10.9.2

  • 2
    No exactly the answer but: from the menu bar you can select Window > Merge All Windows to pull all open Finder windows in to one, tabbed, Finder window. Handy for leaving no straggler behind. – Ian C. Sep 7 '14 at 3:55
  • If we can't open any folder in tab from outside Finder, then solution will do the trick to some extent. Thanks @lan C – MagePsycho Sep 7 '14 at 5:56

As noted by another answer: you can't have all new Finder calls open as tabs in one Finder window. Cool idea though.

And, as noted by another answer: you can control the behaviour of Cmd-Click actions in Finder so they open new tabs instead of new windows by going to the Finder preferences (Cmd+) and making sureOpen folders in tabs instead of new windows` is selected in the General tab on the Preferences pane:

Finder preferences for tabs instead of windows

The reason I want this is so that I have only one Finder window with multiple tabs. If apps keeps on opening new window you may miss the opened folder.

The above preference settings for Finder won't stop apps from opening new windows. You can, however, use Finder's Window > Merge All Windows menu item to pull all open Finder windows in to the current, front-most, Finder window as tabs. This will address your straggler concerns, though in an inelegant manner I'm afraid.

You could use this Alfred workflow to trigger the Merge from Alfred. Or, if you're a LaunchBar user like me, here's a little AppleScript that'll do it:

on gui_scripting_status()
  tell application "System Events"
    set ui_enabled to UI elements enabled
  end tell
  if ui_enabled is false then
    tell application "System Preferences"
      set current pane to pane id "com.apple.preference.universalaccess"
      display dialog "The GUI scripting architecture of Mac OS X is currently disabled." & return & return & "To activate GUI Scripting select the checkbox \"Enable access for assistive devices\" in the Universal Access preference pane." with icon 1 buttons {"Okay"} default button 1
    end tell
  end if
  return ui_enabled
end gui_scripting_status

on click_menu(app_name, menu_name, menu_item)
    tell application app_name
    end tell
    tell application "System Events"
      click menu item menu_item of menu menu_name of menu bar 1 of process app_name
    end tell
    return true
  on error error_message
    return false
  end try
end click_menu

if gui_scripting_status() then
  click_menu("Finder", "Window", "Merge All Windows")
end if

It's based off of this handy code blob. It'll work for other programs too like Safari. You need to enable access for assistive devices on your Mac for that script to work.

  • Hi I did run the apple script and it was success run. Now whats the next? – MagePsycho Sep 8 '14 at 19:27
  • @MagePsycho that depends on whether you us Alfred, LaunchBar, QuickSilver or are comfortable with command line tools. Nothing needs to be next if you don't want to run the script from another tool. You can just use Window > Merge All Windows in Finder to do the same thing the script does. – Ian C. Sep 8 '14 at 19:58
  • I am using Alfred. If running the script still doesn't solve the issue then I think default Window > Merge All should work fine. – MagePsycho Sep 9 '14 at 5:55
  • Set that script up in Alfred and bind it to an action. How you do that...is...something you'll need to consult the Alfred docs on, sorry. – Ian C. Sep 9 '14 at 14:47

Currently this is possible on macOS Sierra with the new "prefer tabs" feature.

To enable it, go to System Preferences > Dock > Prefer tabs when opening documents and select Always.

What are the downsides to this? Opening a folder will force open it in a new tab. That means that if you have a Finder window open in another space, the folder will be opened in the background with hardly any visual feedback. This may prevent you from knowing if a folder actually has opened and forces you to manually go to the Finder window to see the contents of what you opened. Additionally, this option enables the feature is all apps, not just in the Finder.

  • 2
    Exactly what I am looking for. Thank you! Now even invocations from IDE(vscode/intellij) open in new tab instead of window. Nice! – LeOn - Han Li Feb 25 '19 at 17:32

This is currently not possible. Opening a destination in Finder from outside Finder (such as a Reveal in Finder or selecting a folder from a Dock stack) will create a new Finder window.

  • In that's the case then merging window like @lan suggested would work to some extent. Thanks for sharing your opinion guys! – MagePsycho Sep 7 '14 at 5:57

In order to view in Tads you need to set it that way.

First open Finder preferences and select open in new tab.

open in tabs

Next in View menu select show tabs.

view tabs

If you hold the cmd key and double click on new folder in finder it will open it in a new Tab bar

Or, using the Plus sign on the right you can now open new tabs and decide what they will show, however the content displayed will depend on what you open in that tab, while the previous tabs remain unaffected.



  • I can't see such 'Show Tab Bar' Option. FYI I am using OSX 10.9.2 – MagePsycho Sep 6 '14 at 20:16
  • I have 10.9.4 and not sure it is specific to it. But try the keyboard short cut as shown. – Ruskes Sep 6 '14 at 20:19
  • 1
    Command + T => Opens in new Tab that's fine. My main concern is, from wherever you open the folder like from SideBar, From Browser > Downloads section, it should open in the new tab instead of new window. – MagePsycho Sep 6 '14 at 20:21
  • It is (Shift + cmd + T) to show the tab bar. Then on the right side of the tab bar there is a + sign to add tabs (that content will change pending what you open), you can keep adding tabs to your linking. – Ruskes Sep 6 '14 at 20:31

I used the AppleSript join-windows.scpt like:

tell application "System Events"
    tell process "Finder"
        click menu item "Merge All Windows" of menu "Window" of menu bar 1
    end tell
end tell

and then make with crontab -e

0,15,30,45 * * * * osascript /Users/me/Library/Scripts/join-windows.scpt > /dev/null

after first run in System Preferences / Privacy Tab you need to allow cron to control computer.

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