From within a shell script (or, similarly, within a terminal) I want to reveal multiple files in Finder with all named files already selected.

Surprisingly, using open -R with multiple arguments fails to achieve this when files share a folder. For example, if I have two files, /tmp/foo/file1 and /tmp/foo/file2, then open -R /tmp/foo/file1 /tmp/foo/file2 causes a Finder window to open showing /tmp/foo but with only file2 selected, rather than both selected.

Is revealing multiple files within a single folder, with multiple files preselected, programmatically achievable?

2 Answers 2


Derived from an answer by @wch1zpink (since deleted), my first solution was as follows.

in reveal_files.scpt:

on run argv
  set fileAliases to {}

  repeat with filePath in argv
    copy (POSIX file filePath as alias) to the end of fileAliases
  end repeat

  tell application "Finder" to reveal fileAliases
end run

and then osascript reveal_files.scpt /tmp/foo/file1 /tmp/foo/file2 produces the desired outcome.

My second solution is in Swift via AppKit:


import AppKit

let args = CommandLine.arguments.dropFirst()
NSWorkspace.shared.activateFileViewerSelecting(args.map {
    URL(fileURLWithPath: $0)

and for lists of files, xargs(1) may be used e.g.

find ~/Downloads -type f -name '*.pdf' -print0 | xargs -0 reveal_files

The following Applescript will also work to reveal multiple files copied and pasted into a focused location in Finder. You can easily modify it to pass a list of filenames to theFiles instead of setting it to the clipboard, and a specific path to thePath instead of having it be set to (insertion location as alias) (i.e. the frontmost window/focused location in Finder).

tell application "Finder"
    set thePath to POSIX path of (insertion location as alias)
    set theFiles to paragraphs of (the clipboard)
    set theOutput to {}
    set theFile to {}
    repeat with i from 1 to count of theFiles
        set theFile to POSIX file (thePath & item i of theFiles) as text
        set end of theOutput to theFile as text
    end repeat
    reveal theOutput
end tell
--return theOutput

I wrote this and use it with a Keyboard Maestro macro when pasting items in Finder because I got tired of losing stuff in folders with a large quantity of files immediately after pasting something into them, needing to mess around with sorting, etc.

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