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Handy Mac Keyboard Shortcuts for Opening and Saving Files

Posted by Melissa Holt on April 23, 2018
macbook keyboard typing

One of the most common things we see as Mac users is the open/save window.
Open/Save Window on the Mac
This window appears, for example, when you open a program like Preview from your Applications folder or your Dock, as the app will want to know what file to use. You’ll also see a box like this one whenever you save a document for the first time; your Mac will often need instructions on where to put the item you’re saving. In any case, though, there are a few Mac keyboard shortcuts you can use within these open/save windows to jump right to a location of your choice. If you’re always saving stuff to your Desktop, these shortcuts will come in handy as a quick way to do so without having to click in Finder’s sidebar or anything like that!

Open and Save Keyboard Shortcuts

When you’re saving or opening a file, just press Command-D on your keyboard to jump to your Desktop in the open/save window.
Jump to Desktop Folder on Mac
That’s one of my favorite shortcuts, honestly—I use it many times a day. But in case you have another location you’d prefer to jump to when you’re doing this, there are some more shortcuts you can use:

Shift-Command-H: Jumps to your Home folder
Option-Command-L: Jumps to Downloads
Shift-Command-O: Jumps to Documents

A lot of these shortcuts are the same as the ones available under Finder’s “Go” menu, just so you’re aware…
Finder's "Go" Menu
…but even though Shift-Command-D is listed as the one to access your Desktop there, Command-D works in open/save windows too, and it’s easier to remember. (But know that if you’re not looking at an open/save window—for example, if you’ve just selected a file on your Desktop—Command-D will duplicate whatever you’d selected instead or taking you anywhere.)
Finally, there are a couple more shortcuts for open/save windows that I use pretty often, so maybe you’ll find them to be handy too. The first is Command-Shift-Period, which will show hidden files:
Hidden Files Showing
The other one I use is Command-R, which will open the item you’d selected in a new Finder window—cool if you want to peruse the contents of a folder you’d drilled down to outside the confines of an open/save window!
New Finder Window with Selection
Anytime I have to take my hands off my keyboard and move them to my trackpad, I get a little sadder, and my work gets a little slower. Since sad and slow is no way to go through life, I’m personally a big fan of keyboard shortcuts for speeding up my workflow. I think every Mac user should spend time learning a few!

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