Is it possible - without any command line or programming being involved - to remove all folders within a folder, and just leave the files?

For example, if I processed this photo folder:

enter image description here

Then I would end up having all the photos in just one folder to go through them faster rather than having to go inside each folder (some of which are sometimes empty, since the camera creates the folder based on the date but doesn't delete the folder if you delete the photos from that day).

I know that one can change the camera's settings to make the camera save all the photos in just one folder, but this isn't what I'm asking, since knowing how to do this type of de-folderizing action would be useful in many other situations, not just with this particular example.

Simplest solutions are more welcome than ones involving programming.

  • So you want to move the pictures in the subfolders one level up into the main folder and remove the then empty subfolders?
    – nohillside
    Oct 1, 2015 at 10:55
  • No, this isn't exactly it but only part of what I want. In the folder called "10050901" there could be a file, and a folder. In this folder, there could be 5 folders, 2 of which including a file, one of which empty, one of which containing a folder. In this situation, I would still want all the files to go to the "DCIM" folder, the empty folders deleted. There wouldn't be any more folders, no matter how deep in the hierarchy one looks. Oct 1, 2015 at 11:01
  • Which OSX version are you running?
    – nohillside
    Oct 1, 2015 at 12:36
  • @patrix Yosemite Oct 1, 2015 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Currently I'm sitting at an older Mac (running 10.6.8), but if I use the folder view where I see the sidebar and search field I can:

  • Type anything into the search field to activate it

  • Constrain the search to the enclosing folder

  • Click the little circle with the plus to get more search options

  • Choose "Kind" is "Document"

  • Delete the text you typed in to activate the search field

What I get is a list of all documents in all the folders inside the enclosing folder, recursively. You could then select all of the files and copy or move them to a new location.

Or -- since we are talking about Photographs -- if your have Adobe Bridge you can set that to show the contents of sub-folders when looking at a folder, then use Bridge's move or copy commands.

  • Thanks! But... How does that get rid of the folders? Then the user would have to go and manually delete each one of them? What if they have to do this for several dozen folders on several different drives? Oct 1, 2015 at 19:54
  • Sorry, missed that bit. I guess after you move the files you could then go back to view the enclosing folder, select all then trash. Oct 2, 2015 at 12:19
  • Thanks David. Not the most ideal answer for now so I'll leave it hanging a little more before seeing what I do Oct 2, 2015 at 18:33
  • I mean, I understand that if you perform a search, you could ① create a new folder for the containment of all the files, ② sarch for something that you know is in every file (for example a "." since it precedes most files extension), ③ drag all the search results in the folder from step 1, and ④ delete all the folders but make sure first they're empty (tedious, risky). There's got to be another way to separate all the files from the folders in a given folder of the Finder... Nov 16, 2015 at 10:17

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