I want to set to open a folder in finder with Enter.

I know it's possible to open a folder with ⌘ Command + ↓ Down Arrow but I don't like it and I never use it because it's easier to use the trackpad, but enter would be the easiest way.

I tried to set it trough the keyboard shortcuts but I can't do it.


8 Answers 8


Any person new to Apple and Mac would find lot of things un-intuitive or just forced on the user, w/o any options to change it. Or it might be that just many of us had their first experiences on Win/Linux systems.

But just found this plugin to finder XtraFinder which among lot of other options allows you to ENTER/RETURN to open a file.

Feeling a lot relieved now! Hope it helps.

enter image description here


As I know you can not set it to enter in a normal way (but maybe exist some tricky way) but you can change open shortcut by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts tab from the left window choose Application Shortcuts and press + to add new shortcut then find Finder in Application and choose Open in Menu Title and press any desired shortcut in textbox.

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PresButan (Mac OS X 10.4.x-10.7.x): An idiotically named solution to a spectacular UI oversight (rather apropos, eh?).
It also lets you use either the backspace or delete key to delete files.

I can confirm it works (just installed it). Apparently it leverages the accessibility system and uses a daemon to catch the return events.

If you are on 10.3-10.5, you also have the option of using ReturnOpen.


You could also use KeyRemap4MacBook, but it would make pressing return open items even in rename mode. And there are a lot of other places besides Finder where return renames items and other key combinations open them.

If you don't use a QWERTY keyboard layout, change KeyCode::O to KeyCode::CURSOR_DOWN:

  <name>Use Return as Open</name>
  <autogen>--KeyToKey-- KeyCode::RETURN, ModifierFlag::FN, KeyCode::RETURN</autogen>
  <autogen>--KeyToKey-- KeyCode::RETURN, KeyCode::CURSOR_DOWN, ModifierFlag::COMMAND_L</autogen>

Edit: Well crud, got halfway through typing this up and then found that Karabiner doesn't work on Mac OS 10.12+. They are working on Karabiner-Elements but it's still pre-alpha.

These instructions still work for 10.11 and lower though:

Karabiner was easier than the top answer here because you don't have to make a System Integrity Protection exception (El Cap).

  1. Install app from here: https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/

  2. Open Karabiner with Spotlight Search (Cmd+Space)

  3. In Karabiner search menu (upper left): "use return as open"

  4. Check the box

  5. Option-click on Finder in taskbar, Relaunch it.


For anybody looking for this in 2018: use BetterTouchTool to make the Enter key simulate ⌘ Command + ↓ Down Arrow key press.


In current 2022 Karabiner version, go to "Complex modification" tab > "Add rule" button at the bottom > "Import more rules from the internet (open a web browser)" button at the top enter image description here Then you should find "Application specific" -> "Finder" section on the web-page and import it to your Karabiner. enter image description here enter image description here Then use the same button "Add rule" to select rules you like from that group.

enter image description here (Careful with using backspace, you can't backspace when renaming files)


ControlOptionSpace serves as an Enter key

Also enabling voice over for when you need to navigate, helps a lot too

  • 2
    ctrl+alt+space serves as an Enter button except that it doesn't (at least not on my Mac). Also, the OP explicitly asks for enabling the Enter button.
    – Glorfindel
    Nov 6, 2017 at 8:11

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