How to Find the Path of a File on Mac OS X

How to find the path of a file on Mac OS X

In this blog post, we will be having a look at the different available methods to find the path of a file on Mac OS X. All these methods are reliable and can be used as an alternative to the other. So, if you are a MacBook user, then this article will surely help you.

Have you ever needed to find the path of a file on Mac OS X? Whether it’s for troubleshooting, removing permissions from a file, or simply because you want to see where it is, there are multiple ways to get this done?

One of the most reliable is to use the Terminal app in Mac OS X. But there are also other ways through the Finder, Spotlight, and even Google.

It’s not always easy to find the path of a file. Below, we will show you different methods for locating the path of a file on Mac OS X.

Knowing how to find the path of a file on Mac OS X is important for two reasons. First, finding a file’s location is useful in almost any context you can imagine. For example, if you need to send a file to someone else, you can provide them with its path. Second, if you want to move a file to another location, you need to know where it is located first.

Methods to Find the Path of a File on Mac OS X

Mac OS X is one of the most preferred operating systems for home and professional use. It is used by many businesses and corporations around the world. Since it is a UNIX-based system, there are some commands or ways that can be used to find the path of a file to troubleshoot issues.

On Mac OS X, there are a handful of different ways to find the path of a file. These methods are useful when you want to display the location of a file in a particular folder without showing the hierarchy structure of the folder.

If you want to open a file but you’re not sure how you got it, finding its path can be a bit tricky. There are a few ways to go about it. This wikiHow will show you how to find the path of a file on Mac OS X using different available methods, mentioned next in detail.

By Tapping the Show Path Bar Option in the Finder

According to most Macbook users, this is the easiest method to successfully find the full path of a file or folder on Mac OS X. Just follow the simple steps mentioned next.


First, navigate to Finder and open it.


Next select the option named View, among the different options like File, Edit, Go, Window, Help.


Finally, among the dropdown list of options tap on the one labeled Show Path Bar.

With this, the full path of the file or present location in Finder will appear in front of your eyes on the Macbook screen. The Path Bar will emerge right on top of the Status Bar, just in case you have enabled it. The thing that we loved about the Path Bar is that it\’s not just static but is quite immersive and interactional.


By Clicking the Get Info Option in the Finder

This is another method for finding the full path of a file or folder on Mac OS X, described next in detail with proper steps.


First, direct to Finder and open it.


Now pick the option named File written just next to Finder.


Next, from the catalog of options click on the one named Get Info.


After that, under the section named General find the option labeled Where. On the right-hand side of this option (i.e. Where), you will see the complete path tho the file.

With this, you have successfully achieved your desired goal of finding the full path of a file or folder on Mac OS X.


By Tapping the Go to Folder Option in the Finder

If you are a Macbook user, who is new to this type of OS, and don\’t know how to get the file path, then don\’t worry. Here is a method that you can utilize to trace the path of a file in Mac OS X. But for this, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps in strict order.


First, navigate to Finder and open it.


Next select the option named Go, among the different options like File, Edit, View, Window, Help.


Now, among the dropdown list of options tap on the one labeled Go to Folder.


Finally, drag and drop the file or folder of which you want to know the path in the open window. This will display the complete path of the file or folder in Mac OS X.

Attention: One thing you must ensure is that the previous entry to another file/folder is deleted.


With the Aid of Mac\’s Terminal

If due for some reason, the above-provided methods are not working for you then you must surely turn your head towards the Mac Terminal. It will assist you in finding the complete file path with the help of some commands mentioned next within the steps.


First, navigate to the Applications on your Macbook. From there select Utilities.


After that, launch the Mac Terminal.


One thing you need to verify is that you are logged in as Administrator, before starting to use the Terminal. After you have successfully certified this, write the following command in Terminal.

sudo su

Now, press the Enter or Return button on your Macbook keyboard.


Next, what is required from your side is that you know at least the name of the file of which you want to find the path. If you have this know-how, then proceed with writing the following command in the Terminal.

find / -name randomfilename

In the above command, replace randomfilename with the name of the desired file. Then press the Enter or Return button on your Macbook keyboard again.


Now your Macbook will take some time to process the command or the query. (Wait patiently as this process can take longer in some cases)


Next, a whole catalog of names will be displayed on the Terminal in front of you. Only look for the ones that are valid e.g.,

/Library/Application Support/randomfilename/settings/

and ignore the rest of them, especially the ones followed by file-end names, such as “operation not permitted”.


Finally, copy and then paste the full name and place it into Finder or Spotlight Search.

On the other hand, if you are finding this method quite complex and time taking, then in that case you can simply drag and drop the file onto the Mac Terminal Window, and it will automatically display its full path/location.


By Right-Clicking the File

This is the simplest and hassle-free method that one can use to find the path of a file on Mac OS X. The steps are provided below.


First, navigate to the file you want to find the path of.


Next, right-click on the file.


Now, from the appearing options click on the one named Get Info.


Finally, tap on the option named General. There you will find the whole path to the file written right next to Where.


By Copying File Paths From The Context Menu

A contextual menu, or what you can say a shortcut menu, provides user access to frequently used commands related to the current context on a Mac machine. This menu is revealed by control-clicking a view or selected element in an application.

It not only permits you to delete or rename a specific file but also has a number of attributes that you will love to see on your Macbook. One of the most helpful but unfortunately hidden options in your Mac\’s context menu is that it allows you to copy the complete file path to your clipboard firsthand.

As the option is disabled (hidden) in the default settings when you right-click on a file on Mac, it will not appear on your screen. But don\’t worry, because the process of enabling this option is a piece of cake. All you need to do is long-press and hold the Option key on your keyboard.

Now, you will see that the option is clearly visible to you inside the context menu. To utilize this, follow the next mentioned steps precisely.


First, inside the Finder right-click on the file.


Next, on your Mac keyboard press and hold down the Option key.


Now, among the list of options, you’ll notice the option named Copy “file-name.ext” as Pathname. Tap on it.

Finally, this action will copy the path of your selected file as plain text to your clipboard. In this way, you will be able to find the path of the file on Mac OS X.


Using the Automator App to Reveal a File Path on Mac

If you’re a Mac user, then checking out the Automator App is a must for you. It helps you automate repetitive tasks on your Mac. Plus, if you work in tech, it is a really useful app that you should get your hands on. You can use it to automate simple tasks like renaming files or creating a new folder etc.

For the present case, we will be using the Automator App to find a file path on Mac. So, if you are looking for it, then carry out the steps provided below on your Macbook.


First, open the Applications folder on your Mac. There you will see the Automator App.


Launch the Automator app by tapping it. Once successfully opened, it will ask you where to create your new service. You can have a location of your choice, but it\’s recommended to use the default folder.


Now, a new window will pop up asking you to Choose a type for your document. Among the provided options pick the one labeled Quick Action. After that, tap on Choose button to verify your selection.


Next, from the opened Automator window what you need to do is change the two options at the top next to Workflow receives current. The ultimate settings should read something like this Workflow receives current files or folders in Finder.


Now, on the top left-hand side/corner of your Macbook screen, you will see the Actions search tab. Tap on it, and then look for the option named Copy to Clipboard. Once you successfully find it, press and drag it over to the Workflow panel.


With the above step completed, your new service is ready to use. As soon as you save and name your automation, navigate back to the Finder.


After that, right-click on a file of which you want to find the path on your Mac OS X. Then choose Services and pick the name of your automation. One thing you will observe is that it’s present in the Quick Actions sub-menu too.


Finally, the automation service will copy the complete path of the file to the clipboard. Now, you can easily paste it anywhere (maybe inside a notepad file). In this way, you will be able to see the whole path of the file.


With the Help of Spotlight Search

Spotlight is a system-wide desktop search feature of Apple\’s macOS and iOS. It is a selection-based search system, which generates an index of all items and files on the system.

Moreover, it is created to permit the user to swiftly locate a wide variety of items on the machine, including documents, pictures, music, applications, and System Preferences.

During the course of time, there have been many updates available for the Spotlight feature on macOS. But the thing that gathered our attention is that with Spotlight you can easily find the path of a file on Mac OS X.

All you need to do is perform the steps mentioned next in a proper manner.


First, launch Spotlight Search.


Now, in the search area type a keyword for the file or folder.


Next, by using the arrow keys on your keyboard highlight the file.


After that, press and hold the Command key on your Macbook keyboard. Finally, the pathname (path of the file) for the file will be shown to you, until you release the Command key.

If you are looking for a file on your Mac, then honestly using the Spotlight method is the most suitable and appropriate one. Not only can you find it instantly, but you can also see its exact location on your system.


See also: How To Turn Off Your Phone Without Using Power Button


The file path is a concept used in computing. It refers to the sequence of directories and files that make up a file system.

In a file system, a file is identified by its name. In Mac OS X, the path of a file is its name followed by the path separator character (usually a forward slash /).

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Apple products. However, I’m often frustrated by the lack of information available online to help newbies navigate Mac OS X.

This is the sole reason, why I decided to write this blog to help others learn to find the path of a file in Mac OS X. That\’s where this article comes in handy.

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