I recently found out about the "Stationery Pad" feature of the Finder in OS X. For those who are not familiar with it, it allows you to select a file (usually a document of some sort) and in the Get Info window tick the Stationery Pad button. This allows you to use the file as a template for future files which will be based on this one.

In essence when you have a file that is marked in this way, when you double click the file instead of opening it it will create a copy of the file, called your-original-filename copy and then immediately save it in the same folder as the template file you double clicked on.

This is incredibly useful, but has a couple of annoying features:

  1. It puts the copy file in the same location
  2. It immediately saves the file with a name that you are guaranteed to want to change

Is there any known way to make it open a copy of the file, that does not immediately save it? This will allow me to a) choose my own name without having to subsequently remove the "copy" version, and b) have it in the location of my choice from the start. In effect, I'd like to open it as if it was a brand new file that has no name and has never been saved.

Frankly, at the moment it's quicker to copy and paste a file somewhere else then edit it than use this feature, at the expense of the original file not being 'protected' against edits (which is the best part of it, as the amount of times I create letterheads, etc. for people who then save their first letter over the top of the template file…).

1 Answer 1


If, instead of marking the file as a stationary pad, you just lock it, most software will open it read-only, and you can just do a save-as, accomplishing exactly what you want (An open file that is a duplicate of the locked file and hasn't yet been saved.) The file will be write-protected.

Unfortunately, the stationary pad feature is designed the way it is and (as far as I know) there isn't a workaround to change that. Most word processing and other software already has a built-in template feature, so that's worth looking into, as well.

  • Great first answer - thanks a lot :) Welcome, by the way!
    – stuffe
    Mar 16, 2012 at 22:09
  • I don't know why they brought this forward from Classic, where it was a useful little memo pad.
    – Zo219
    Jul 24, 2013 at 20:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .