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I have just bought a MacBook and recently switched from Windows OS. Let's take the example of Microsoft Word documents. In Windows OS, I have a habit of making my MS Word files in the destination directory itself, so all I have to do is save my work later.

However with my limited knowledge of MacOS, I realise there seems to be no way to achieve this, I always make a new MS Word file and only at the saving stage then I require to go through the whole motion of entering my nested folders. If I have to work on multiple files that would be stored in the same destination folder, this process will become quite irritating if the destination is quite deep into other folders.

Is there a way to overcome this dilemma in MacOS in general for any application?

marked as duplicate by grg Oct 24 '18 at 8:32

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  • for which application – Ruskes Oct 24 '18 at 3:21
  • @Buscar웃 Actually the question extends to any application if possible. But the example I have been using is MS Word. – Prashin Jeevaganth Oct 24 '18 at 3:24
  • Mac applications will let you choose the save to folder, but only the firs time you do it. After that all new files from same app will be saved to same folder unless you chose no to. Is it that what you are talking about. – Ruskes Oct 24 '18 at 3:28
  • No what I meant is consider 1 application X, making file X1,X2,X3... X10. We might want X1,X2...X7 to be in Folder A(which is 5 folders deep), and I don't know a way to pre-make the files in Folder A so I can avoid going into 5x7 folders. However, I not only work with Folder A, I also want X8,X9,X10 to be in Folder B. So to your reply, no, I don't want a default folder to store all my files from 1 app X. – Prashin Jeevaganth Oct 24 '18 at 3:33
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    @Tetsujin Oh cool, realised only from the answer Mac has a GUI feature to allow icons to be drag to terminal. And now instead of "cd" and "depth travelling" we could just drag the icon in a similar way w/o saving an initial copy elsewhere like what I required. Also in the midst of trying. Thanks for the new insight – Prashin Jeevaganth Oct 24 '18 at 8:13

AFAIK, you can't do it directly through the macOS GUI like in Windows, w/o any customizations.

You can use the Terminal* app (Cmd+Space to open Spotlight, then type terminal), by typing cd, then drag and drop the folder to it to get the whole file path; finally type touch my newfile.docx.


cd /path/to/file
touch newfile.docx

many other alternative solutions here

* coming from the Windows world, terminal it's like the cmd.exe (Command Prompt)

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    touch creates an empty (zero byte length) file, does Word handle this correctly? (And there is no need to cd, touch path/to/file works as well) – nohillside Oct 24 '18 at 4:14
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    Hi, thanks for your prompt reply. As a previous Windows user, I only sticked to the GUI for completing day to day tasks and don’t really use the Command Prompt. Recently I got into a Computer Science course and people recommended me to get a MacBook for a better understanding of the UNIX environment, and that was my first encounter with Terminal, (no Command Prompt experience prior to that). – Prashin Jeevaganth Oct 24 '18 at 4:18
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    I have been searching for a long time how to extend my terminal knowledge to day to day task. Do you happen to know where I can read up on some of these because I wish to extend them beyond just creating text files for programming. Also, specifically for the creation of files, is it true that I could create any file as long as I know its extension? – Prashin Jeevaganth Oct 24 '18 at 4:18
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    @nohillside I don't get how your command works when you don't specify the name and extension of your file to be created. Sorry I'm new to UNIX. – Prashin Jeevaganth Oct 24 '18 at 4:22
  • @PrashinJeevaganth If you only want to create an empty file you can run touch /path/to/file/newfile.docx instead of cd /path/to/file; touch newfile.docx. – nohillside Oct 24 '18 at 5:39

Since macOS does not have this type of context menu to simply add a New File of a certain type which is pre-filled with the required information, the closest you can do is an approach similar to what GNOME under Linux has:

  • Create a Templates folder (it does not need to be called “Templates” though) which is easily accessible to you (maybe add it to the side panel of Finder afterwards)
  • then open Word and without starting to type or change anything, save that empty file to your templates folder as a regular document (e.g. as “.docx”, not “.dotx” as this would be Word’s own way of storing templates and is not what you wanted)

Now, whenever you need to place multiple files of the same type, visit your templates folder, copy that file, navigate where you like to place them and paste them in the number of times you need them. Then rename the new files to the names of choice.

Other applications behaving in a similar manner (meaning being able to store files at custom locations) can be done in the same fashion.

No programming (adding services) or command line knowledge (using bash) is required with this solution.

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