In the menu Go > Recent Places you can get a list of recently accessed folders. I want to add this to the Finder sidebar, but I am not seeing any clear explanation of how to do this.

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    I have this question as well, and as of Feb. 2019 have found no good solution. I've tried various Spotlight commands (saved as "smart" folders, or using the mdfind command), and none seems to be able to work consistently. Folders that I've used recently are often missing. I've made unsuccessful attempts at this every year or so for the last few years. Nothing seems to be able to reliably reproduce the functionality of Finder's "Recent Folders" menu item. Very frustrating.
    – Neal Young
    Feb 18, 2019 at 14:45
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    The only "solution" that I have personally found was using a different file manager. Path Finder has what you're looking for, it's not so polished but it has ton of features.
    – Reda Lazri
    Mar 4, 2019 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


Use a smart folder.

  1. Right click the Finder in the Dock
  2. Select New Smart Folder
  3. Press the plus button
  4. Select kind.
  5. Select Last Modified/Opened or whatever you want.
  6. Select 'This Mac'
  7. Save your smart folder. When saving, make sure 'Add to Sidebar' is checked. Name your smart folder and you're good to go!
  • Thanks this seems to work. However I am wondering how the "opened in the last x days" part works. If I set it for 3 days, but then do not use my Mac for a week, will this come up empty (e.g. no 'recent' folders)? A more numeric approach such as "the last 20 accessed folders" is closer to what I had in mind. Also I was hoping to have the folders themselves directly listed in the sidebar; is that not possible? Jul 5, 2016 at 19:47
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    It will likely come up empty if you abandon the Mac longer than the set date, and no, I am not aware of any way to make the folders themselves show up.
    – Bora
    Jul 5, 2016 at 19:48
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    Yes that is actually exactly what I would like, a dynamic list of recently accessed directories in the sidebar. I am constantly jumping between the same half dozen at a time so it would be much more convenient than having to navigate a menu or parent directory every time. But in the mean time I will settle with the solution given here. Jul 6, 2016 at 15:10
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    As of Catalina, this seems to pick up a ton of useless "_CodeSignature" and ".lproj" folders. Any tips on filtering them out? Removing "System files" doesn't seem to help. This sounds amazing if it works!
    – David Lord
    Jul 17, 2020 at 2:51
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    Actually, an answer is contained in this method. It turns out when you right click the Finder icon (in Carolina), it gives just the list of recently viewed folders the OP requested.
    – CharlesW
    Jun 17, 2022 at 11:22

Use spotlight to go to finder and then go to preferences. Go to sidebar option. And check on the Recents checkbox.

Hope this helps you!

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  • 7
    This does not apply to folders.
    – ddunn801
    Aug 4, 2019 at 20:10
  • 6
    this is the right answer
    – dwery
    Aug 3, 2020 at 22:03

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