I am new to MAC

Lets say I have a folder named outer_folder and inside this folder there is another folder called inner_folder which has a file named inner_file1.pdf

I opened the outer_folder in List view and then clicked on the arrow next to inner_folder and copy pasted the inner_file1.pdf expecting that the copy of the file will be created in inner_folder but the copy was created in outer_folder instead

Is this a bug or is this how MAC is supposed to work? Is there a possibility to change this so that the copy is created in the inner_folder?

3 Answers 3


Sadly, yes, this is how Finder has always done things - it is mostly incapable of correctly parsing a multi-level file structure, as if there is no difference between a file (an object) or a folder (or directory). Finder only got cut-copy-paste as valid file handling actions a few years ago, but there's at least some conscientious coders on the Finder devteam, because Finder got folder-merge capability ... of a sort, and it only happens when you specifically request it to do so. And it won't work properly with keyboard commands, you have to drag stuff from one Finder window to another.

Sadly, we can't make Finder handle nestings and mergings the way File Explorer and all the *nix file-GUIs have done it for decades, nor can we get rid of Finder ... but we can ignore it, and use something else.

If you're cozy with the command-line, the ditto command handles directory merging in the normal sane fashion, but if you would prefera clicky-draggy-shortcuts GUI for file-handling, the best Finder substitute is a commercial app called Path Finder from Cocoatech.


This is a source of confusion to many.

In List view, the default paste location will be the outermost folder the window is opened from, ie the one named in the window header.

Workarounds are to either Cmd/double click to open your destination in a new window, or more simply right click your destination folder & use Paste Item from there.


Using only the keyboard:

  • Select the destination folder in Finder
  • Press Cmd+O to open the destination folder
  • Press Cmd+V to paste inside the destination folder
  • Press Cmd+[ to go back to the outer folder

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