I have these five desktops with a dozen of full screen apps and feel very happy. Say I'm at right Desktop 5 now. (Sadly my picture is deleted since it wasn't uploaded to the site hosting service)

Now I want to open Finder to locate a file to open it on this desktop.
So I click Finder in Dock.

enter image description here


I get dragged all the way to the Desktop 1 because that's where Finder is currently open.

Well, that makes sense from a programmer's perspective (switch to Desktop with the app window).
But it doesn't make any sense for user.

Whenever I press Finder, I want it to open on current desktop, because it's utility and not really an “app” I need to “switch to”.

I usually have half dozen Finder windows on different desktops and these redirects just get in my way.

Is there a workaround to make Finder in Dock desktop-bound, apart from choosing New Finder Window in menu?

  • Dan - we lost your original picture - I've moved the remaining item to site hosting (imgur) - so be sure to use them in the future. Losing data is not something we like to see here.
    – bmike
    Apr 13, 2013 at 17:03
  • @bmike Thanks. I've been using imgur for a long time now myself.
    – Dan
    Apr 14, 2013 at 14:11

7 Answers 7


You have several different options:

Create Finder Window with a Shortcut

While this doesn't solve your problem with the dock, using a keyboard shortcut can be much faster and can help in your workflow.

  1. Activate Finder by clicking the desktop background
    (If the desktop is cluttered with windows, pinch out to clean it up and then click)

  2. Use the New Finder Window shortcut: + N

Disable Spaces Auto-Switching

Uncheck the Missions Control preferences checkbox to switch to a space with open windows for an application: enter image description here

On a side note, this does not effect the Finder if you have the Assign to all Desktops option selected. Link Here

  • 1
    The first option, combined with a tip I added on how to activate Finder from any screen, solves the issue most elegantly. Thanks a ton.
    – Dan
    Oct 19, 2011 at 1:21
  • I cannot tell you how much this solution made my life easier. It's a real pain trying to open finder while working on screen n and then get pushed to screen m. Thanks a lot !!!!!
    – 1amtoo1337
    Jun 18, 2012 at 11:37
  • 1
    There's a much easy way to do this and to leave Spaces switching intact (because it's very useful!). Assign a spotlight shortcut for a new window and use that. Finder window is placed on top of current app even with Spaces Switching ON. I made an answer below so you can upvote it. Mar 2, 2015 at 10:18
  • To generalize this to other applications, you need to ensure that the application is not assigned to any particular desktop, since Cmd-N in such cases creates the new window in the desktop to which the application is assigned Sep 12, 2016 at 16:00
  • The "Side Note" was the solution I was looking for: activate on all screens so your finder opens in your current context, without impacting the way other apps behave. The primary solution changes the behaviour of all apps, and I think the op quite rightly pointed out that finder should behave differently -- ike a utility, not an app. Thank you so much.
    – brianfit
    Aug 28, 2018 at 9:13

If you right click on finder in the dock, select "Options" then "All Desktops". All Finder windows will be available on all desktops all the time.

I think its solves the problem posted in the question if you select "None"

  • This is a good solution because it really fits the “utility” paradigm I described. Thanks.
    – Dan
    Oct 19, 2011 at 1:12
  • I'm not sure if this of any help. While it might work for some, if you're like the OP and have a minimum of 5 desktop open, you'll probably have multiple finder windows, some which not relevant for the current space at all.
    – rien333
    Jul 19, 2017 at 15:56

You can make a simple AppleScript application to put in your dock that will make a new Finder window in the current desktop:

tell application "Finder"
    make new Finder window to home
end tell
  • Cool but hacky. Still, cool.
    – Dan
    Oct 19, 2011 at 1:24

Look into HyperDock it has a lot of cool enhancement for the Dock.

From the homepage:

Powerful Shortcuts

HyperDock adds fully configurable shortcuts to your dock apps. Assign key & mouse shortcuts to your dock items to hide or quit apps, start Expose, open Safari tabs, Finder Windows and much more.

You can also look into TotalFinder, I believe it also has global shortcut allowing you to open a new window from anywhere.

  • I'm marking this as answer because it doesn't require any additional software. Thank you for the suggestion, though.
    – Dan
    Oct 19, 2011 at 1:25

There is a very easy way to do this: Set a shortcut for Spotlight and use it. I set my spotlight shortcut to Control + Spacebar (so it doesn't interfere with other apps — especially the Adobe CC app pan & zoom tools).

When I'm in some app and type that key combo I get a Finder window in the same Space I'm already in (not Finder Space) and the cursor is in the search field of the Window. It's in the same space I'm using (Finder needs to be set to All Desktops in Dock> Finder Icon> Options…> All Desktops) overlaid over application I was using.

Set Spotlight shortcut in System Prefs> Spotlight> Spotlight Window shortcut:


I found a workable solution to this using BetterTouchTool (which is worth a download for many reasons other than just this use case) that mostly does what I want: 3 finger tapping on the dock icon for Finder, Terminal, Safari, etc opens a new window in the current space. However, it only does the right thing if the app already has other windows open. If the app isn't open, or doesn't already have any open windows, it'll either send the Command-N to the current app while the clicked one is opening, or it'll open up two new windows (once when activated, once for Command-N). This is a bit of a pain, although maybe not a deal-breaker because a standard left click will do the correct thing where this gesture fails.

  1. set up a new gesture of your choice (I'm using 3 finger tap) and assign it to "Activate Currently Hovered App in Dock"
  2. select "Attach Additional Action" and assign it to a keyboard shortcut of Command-N
  3. if, like me, you have 3 finger tap already assigned to middle click (or any other action), you'll want to click the gear icon to the left of the gesture selector to make the Command-N action only trigger when over the dock, and the middle click action only trigger when not over the dock
  4. make sure to disable spaces auto-switching, as found in Kassym's answer

I have a feeling we're only going to get a good fix for this if Apple acknowledges this space-per-task use case, so please send them feedback.

  • 7 years later and this works great! Every couple months for years I've gotten fed up enough to try to find a solution. Been under my nose the whole time: I've been using BetterTouchTool since it was MultiClutch! Thank you so much. May 26, 2023 at 3:23

Keyboard shortcut Option⌥ + Command⌘ + Space: open new Finder window on the active Desktop

enter image description here

  • This is my preferred solution, thank you!
    – Nathan
    Jan 24, 2022 at 2:56

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