We here at Macworld have been using Macs since before OS X was named after cats, but sometimes we learn a new trick that we can’t believe we didn’t know. Like this one that I saw on Twitter yesterday.
We’ve all experienced this: You’re saving a file in Pages or Garageband or Microsoft Word and the dialog box starts in the completely wrong place. Then you need to go to your mouse or trackpad, click the arrow to expand, and hope the destination you want is there. If it’s not—and it almost always isn’t—you need to click through folders and places until you land on the one you’re looking for.
But here’s the trick iOS engineer Zach Waugh shared: Type the forward-slash (/) on your keyboard when the save dialog box pops up and you’ll go straight to a “Go to Folder” window that lets you quickly navigate to anywhere on your Mac. You’ll need to know the path, but it’ll also save your recent places so you don’t have to retype lengthy strings of folders. It even works with the user shortcut using the ~ symbol.
This is no April Fool’s gag. I’ve already used the simple shortcut several times today (like when saving this article) and the time savings is huge. It keeps your fingers on the keys and is much quicker at getting to a folder than clicking items in the sidebar or navigating through layers of folders.
For example, if you want to save a photo to your user folder, type “/~/Pictures”. Or if you need to get to your Documents folder, try typing “/~/Documents”. And start counting the seconds you’re going to save each time you need to save something in a faraway folder.
Some readers have pointed out some other awesome shortcuts that will save tons of time and aggravation:
To jump straight to the desktop, press Command-D when the dialog box comes up.
Typing “~” will go directly to your user folder without pressing the slash first.
You can press the tab button to finish known locations without typing the whole word.