Is it possible to add a button to the Finder that goes up a directory? I looked at the buttons available under customize and didn't see one, but thought there might be a hack out there.

  • 1
    Are you saying you want a single step up button, instead of having to click twice on that icon (once to open it, once to pick the parent) just to go up a single directory? Sep 23, 2011 at 20:36
  • 2
    @VxJasonxV yep, exactly. I know, I'm lazy, and I'm not a big fan of keyboard shortcuts.
    – swrobel
    Sep 23, 2011 at 21:16
  • 1
    @SWrobel If you're lazy then you'd best learn to use the mouse less, and keyboard shortcuts more. +1 VxJasonxV's answer
    – macaco
    Sep 24, 2011 at 2:36
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    @macaco I understand some people love keyboard shortcuts, but when I'm already navigating with my mouse, which is what I prefer for browsing folders, it's easier not to switch back to the keyboard.
    – swrobel
    Sep 27, 2011 at 0:10

8 Answers 8


Would you be willing to just use a keyboard shortcut instead?

⌘ Command↑ Up


  • 1
    Is that Lion specific? Or can I do that in SL?
    – daviesgeek
    Sep 24, 2011 at 17:07
  • I believe it's been that way for many many OS X versions, I don't have a Snow Leopard install to test on. Sep 25, 2011 at 8:29
  • 4
    That Command-Up Arrow shortcut has been around for ages. Even before OS X, I believe...
    – NSGod
    Sep 26, 2011 at 5:21

Choose View > Show Path Bar to show the Path bar at the bottom of Finder windows.

Then, to go up one level, just double-click on the second-to-last item in the hierarchy. For example, I'd double-click on mdouma46 in the image below to go up one level.

enter image description here

  • great solution to avoid fiddling with scripts Nov 26, 2021 at 13:47

Another option would be to save a script like this as an application in AppleScript Editor and drag it to the toolbar.

    tell app "Finder" to tell window 1 to set target to container of target
end try
  • Just for those who do not know how to save AppleScript as .app. Also, note that this came very handy for creating a "button" for opening new iTerm2 tabs in the current directory, from within Finder, based on this. Another solution using services is here.
    – 0 _
    Aug 6, 2013 at 6:15

I found this app that does what I was looking for. Once extracting it to your Applications folder or wherever you want to keep it, drag it to the Finder next to the Back/Forward buttons. It's a little bit smaller than them in Lion, but the styling fits.

Click here to download

Credit to Simon Slangen for creating the app

Image of up button

  • 2
    this worked in ealier version of OSX, but is sadly not working in 10.12. I would love to find some alternatives like this. Its unbelievable how terrible navigation is in OSX still. A simple up button isnt rocket science. Jan 2, 2018 at 1:17

When you Command-Click on the folder icon on an item in the title bar of a Finder window, you get a contextual menu showing the folder hierarchy to the root of the drive. You can then use the mouse to select a higher level of the hierarchy and move there in the Finder window. It's convenient and appealing because you see the whole hierarchy.

before command-click

after command-click

  • 3
    That function is identical to the button listed in the OPs question, but it harder to invoke. Sep 23, 2011 at 22:17
  • Valid point. Yet it gave me the opportunity to add some screen shots.
    – user9290
    Sep 23, 2011 at 22:23
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    Furthermore, the "Command-Click" on the icon also works with document windows in many Mac OS X applications. So if you have a document open in Preview, and you want to see its folder path, you can use the same method from within Preview.
    – user9290
    Sep 23, 2011 at 22:24
  • More bonus: This also works with the URL in Safari. It provides access to every path down to the server.
    – ughoavgfhw
    Sep 24, 2011 at 0:59

You can make a simple Automator app to do this and put it's icon in the tool bar. It may be slightly slower than an AppleScript app, but the Automator app won't change the focus of the window when it launches (the current Finder window remains the active window the whole time), so it has a more integrated feel.

Still, the quickest way is definitely to use Cmd+Up Arrow.

In Automator, add a "Run Applescript" action and replace the entire default script with this:

tell application "Finder"
    tell application "System Events" to key code 126 using command down
end tell

This script simply sends Cmd+Up Arrow to the Finder.

Save your Automator app, then drag its icon to the Finder's tool bar. You may want to first make a new icon for it to indicate its function.

enter image description here


The current solution I'm using is XtraFinder which lets you add an up button as well as do many of the things that PathFinder or TotalFinder let you do (like sort folders to the top) but for free.

XtraFinder Up Button

  • Looks awesome, but how can I add the up-button using XtraFinder? (I'm new to mac and using OS X 10.9.5). Thanks
    – lcv
    Nov 19, 2014 at 21:56
  • @lcv install XtraFinder, go to Finder menu > XtraFinder > Preferences, go to the Features tab and look for "Show Go Up button in the toolbar" (it's about 4th from the bottom)
    – swrobel
    Nov 20, 2014 at 22:37
  • awww this doesnt work in 10.12 =( too bad. Jan 2, 2018 at 1:20

I made an App for up button.


It is free.


  • Hm, thanks, but this isn't working on my Machine (US keyboad layout, 10.8.3). Sometimes when I click the button it moves the selection up one place (same as pressing the up arrow on the keyboard) but it never goes up a directory. It's as if it's sending Up but not Command+Up.
    – swrobel
    Apr 2, 2013 at 1:17
  • "This site can’t be reached" Jan 2, 2018 at 1:20

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