When I copy and paste a file in Windows, the last inserted file is selected automatically in the destination folder. Then I can (for example) press F2 to rename it.

When I copy and paste a file in OS X, the last inserted file is NOT selected in the destination folder. When I want to rename it, I have to look for it, select it and press Enter.

Is there a setting (or a shortcut) in OS X to select (or highlight) the last inserted file(s)?

  • What version of OS X are you running? May 31, 2016 at 12:28
  • OS X El Capitan 10.11.5
    – mitchbrand
    May 31, 2016 at 16:30
  • So are you saying that the behavior shown in grgarside's answer isn't acting the same for you? May 31, 2016 at 16:32
  • Please have a look at my comment below.
    – mitchbrand
    May 31, 2016 at 16:58

3 Answers 3


If you don't have a current selection, the Paste action will select the new pasted file or folder. Therefore, make sure you don't have a current selection when pasting and the file or folder will be selected when you paste.

A quick way to deselect any currently selected items before pasting is ⌥⌘A. If you'd like more automation in this, you can use Keyboard Maestro or equivalent to intercept a ⌘V and press ⌥⌘A first if you wish this to occur every time you paste.

                  gif of Finder to demonstrate

                  gif of two Finder windows to demonstrate

This answer applies to OS X 10.11.5 and I have also tested it in OS X 10.11.6b1.

  • You said, "If you don't have a current selection, the Paste action will select the new pasted file or folder." and if I'm understanding this correctly then I find this statement to be false. In other words, just as expressed by the OP, when I paste an object (file and or folder) in Finder, to e.g. and empty folder, the object(s) pasted do not have focus and they are not highlight in the destination location upon the completion of the paste operation. Am I misunderstanding what you're trying to say? May 31, 2016 at 12:01
  • @user3439894 Nope, that is what I meant and that is the functionality I see. See my added gif to my answer.
    – grg
    May 31, 2016 at 12:05
  • That is not the behavior I experience and it may have to do with the version of OS X, so you might what to qualify what version of OS X your answer applies to. May 31, 2016 at 12:16
  • @user3439894 Edited, what version of OS X are you using?
    – grg
    May 31, 2016 at 12:17
  • I'm using OS X 10.8.5, however that is not how I was testing. If I copy an object in Finder and paste it to a different location in Finder, the object does not have focus afterwards. If I do as in your .gif, yes the object has focus. However that is not how I normally copy and paste objects in Finder. May 31, 2016 at 12:21

I have a walk-around solution of this problem by using the BetterTouchTool. You can assign a sequence of actions to one Shortcut, such as Control-V (in the following snapshot), which can trigger a series of actions involving deselection, paste, sorted by added date, and highlight the upper most item.



I'll probably be down voted in this answer, but I tried in my El Capitan as the OP described and it never ends selected, it does not work as Windows. As long I still think somethings are still easier in Windows, an O.S. it's about a culture, the usability solution, and may be a better idea dance as the music is playing. The best way to do this task is by OS X way, after paste the file, to click on it and click again (not double click, just click wait click) to edit the filename. The Mac OS X is an interface that has a lot of the old classic O.S. that was made for mouse, not keyboard, unlike the Windows that has a lot of DOS still in the "blood".

Personally, I work with two windows opened and drag-and-drop (alt to copy) as even Bill dreamed when he copied Apple's O.S..

  • Are you absolutely and beyond any doubt sure, ideally based on publicly available information, that there is no way to accomplish what the OP asked for?
    – nohillside
    Jun 1, 2016 at 15:30
  • I don't know way you ask me like this. I answered as (obviously) my opinion, I'm not the owner of the truth so I start the second paragraph by "Personally". It's hard to discuss some points of OS, people get offended when the answer is not they want to hear. I did work with a lot of different OS in my life, since were invented, and to try to twist an OS work as another is usually a bad idea - IMO.
    – Gustavo
    Aug 18, 2016 at 19:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .