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Quick Tip : Renaming files and folders in Mac OSX

Some of my favourite Mac tips and tricks are the simplest ones. You know, the ones you end up using every day, the ones you can't believe you'd never known about. Well, everyone knows how to rename files and folders in Mac OSX's Finder, right? Not necessarily. I've come across a fair few long-time (and newbee) Mac users who have been pleasantly surprised to learn that there are alternatives!

It's no surprise there are a number of different ways to rename files and folders in the Finder... so read on to see if you know them all!

01 - Patience with a Click

First up, is possibly the easiest one to discover when clicking and navigating around the Finder.

Click on the file or folder to select it. Next single-click on the name and wait. After about a second the name becomes a text field highlighted blue. Start typing to replace whatever is highlighted blue or click within the text field to edit the existing text. When you're done hit "Return" on your keyboard or click outside the text field.

select... click on name... and wait...

Remember that double-clicking will open the folder or file, so be sure to pause ever so slightly between clicking to select the item and clicking to rename it.

02 - Return

If, like me, you enjoy using the keyboard to navigate around the Finder, then this is the most efficient way to rename files or folders in the Finder.

Select the item and hit "Return"

Select the file/folder and hit "Return" on your keyboard. You can now rename the item.

Hit "Return" again once you've typed in the desired name.

03 - Get Info

The Get Info window gives you access to some interesting options for the selected file/folder, including the ability to rename it. You can Get Info on an item in a number of ways:

  • Right-click on the item and from the menu choose "Get Info"
  • Select the item and choose: File > Get Info
  • Select the item and hit: Command+I

The Get Info window

Whichever way you choose to open the Get Info window you'll find you can add Spotlight comments, view General info, lock the file/folder, give it a color label, preview it, adjust it's sharing and permissions and of course rename it and even edit the extension.

It couldn't be simpler! Click in the text area of the Name & Extensions area and rename the item.

So, which is your favourite way to rename files and folders on your Mac?

Are you new to the Mac or simply want to learn how to harness the power of OSX? Check out these tutorials!

Rounik Sethi

Rounik Sethi | Articles by this author

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional musicians and hobbyists how to get the best out of Apple's creative software. He has been a visiting lecturer at Bath Spa University's Teacher training program, facilitating workshops on using music and digital media tools in the classroom. If you're looking for Rounik, you'll most likely find him (and his articles) on Ask.Audio & macProVideo.com.


Dec 23, 2010
Thanks Rounik - the one I didn't know about is now my favorite! 02-Return. That's the most efficient for me.
Dec 24, 2010
Thanks Adam!

Me too! Hitting return is definitely my preferred renaming method too. It took me at least a year after using OSX to discover that one.

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