I am running macOS Big Sur 11.4.

In other operating systems, when you paste new files in file manager, the newly added/pasted files will be highlighted and selected. This is really important and convenient when the current folder/directory has many files. I can find the newly pasted file(s) easily.

But in Finder.app, it doesn't do it. It selects/highlights no file after pasting action.

Is that possible to achieve this in macOS?

I don't want to memorize those filename(s) and find newly pasted file(s) from thousands of files.

  • 5
    Not a solution but workaround: add column 'Date added' to Finder and sort by it. This way pasted files will always be on top. Jun 3, 2021 at 16:13
  • 2
    It's not new to Big Sur. The Mac has never highlighted newly-generated files of any sort. If you already have a selection before the paste, that selection is preserved.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 3, 2021 at 16:56
  • If it's a specific set of folders, you can make an AppleScript Folder Action that will automatically select newly added files. Would that work for you? Jun 3, 2021 at 19:55
  • 1
    Presumably, you copy and paste these files, and then do something else with them. It might be useful to know what you plan to do with the files after pasting them. There may be another method of achieving the complete process without going through this individual step.
    – benwiggy
    Jun 3, 2021 at 20:04
  • First, thanks all for your comments. @AivarPaalberg : thank you for your workaround. Sorting by 'Date added' is much better than searching for the filenames.
    – sgon00
    Jun 4, 2021 at 2:32

2 Answers 2


You can get the Finder to select newly added files using a Folder Action. First, open Script Editor and add the following code to a new Script window:

on adding folder items to this_folder after receiving added_items
    tell application "Finder"
        select added_items
    end tell
end adding folder items to

Save this script in the folder ~/Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts, using whatever name strikes you as convenient (I'll use 'Select Script' for demo purposes).

Second, use spotlight to find and open the Folder Actions Setup app. This is a small helper app hidden way down in the file system (/System/Library/CoreServices) that sets up Folder Actions. You'll see a window that looks something like this:

enter image description here

Use the '+' button on the bottom left to choose a folder you want to attach the action to, then select the desired Folder Action script in the resulting popup menu. The result will look something like this:

enter image description here

Adding items to this folder will now cause the Finder to open a Finder Window and select the added files. Repeat the second step for every folder you want this behavior to occur in. There's no simple way to get the Finder to automatically do this for every folder (it is possible, but it's a PITA).

  • Thank you very much for the detail steps and answer. I have upvoted it. But since I have to add each folder in Folder Actions Setup.app to make the script work for that specific folder. This is really something I don't want to do. I will rather use sort-by-date-added workaround.
    – sgon00
    Jun 4, 2021 at 16:06
  • If that's your preference, you might look into using tags. For instance, you could label all the files in a given folder with colored or named tags for different purposes, and then sort by tags. Freshly added items will be untagged, and be grouped together at the top of the folder. This would give you more flexibility (e.g., allowing you to tag files differently depending on what has been or needs to be done to them). Of course, you have to remember to tag files as/after you process them, but... If it helps! Jun 4, 2021 at 16:55
  • I suppose you could even write a background script that would tag files in a folder hierarchy, but you'd have to be a lot clearer about your workflow for anyone to help you with that. Jun 4, 2021 at 16:58
  • Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I may use paste action for the entire file system, not for some specific folders. Tagging all files is not an option either. This is the same as using Folder Actions Setup.app while adding each individual folder. What I want is a general solution which allows me to achieve on all folders. Tagging all files in / is something too much.
    – sgon00
    Jun 5, 2021 at 3:05

If you do not mind investing a few minutes, you can open Automator.app and create a new Quick Action document.

enter image description here

Next, add a Run AppleScript command to the workflow and add this following AppleScript code.

set destinationFolder to (choose folder with prompt ¬
    "Choose The Destination Folder" default location ¬
    (path to desktop) with invisibles)

tell application "Finder"
    set theFiles to selection as alias list
    set duplicatedFiles to duplicate theFiles ¬
        to destinationFolder with replacing and exact copy
    reveal duplicatedFiles
end tell

enter image description here

Next, save your new Automator Quick Action and name it “Reveal Duplicated Files”

Now, anytime you want to duplicate the currently selected files in Finder to another folder then have them revealed snd selected in the new location, just Right Click the Selected files you want to copy and choose Quick Actions/Reveal Duplicated Files. This will open a “Choose Folder” dialog , allowing you to choose the folder where the duplicated files will go. Your files will now be copied to that chosen folder then revealed.

enter image description here

NOTE: The AppleScript code as it is right now, will overwrite any files of the same name, that are currently in the destination folder.

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