5 Ways to Reveal a File Path on Mac

A Butterfly and Pupa.

Copying a file on your Mac is as simple as selecting the file and pressing the Command + C shortcut. Though, to reveal a file path on Mac is a bigger task. There are a few ways you can do this with various levels of complexity. In this post, we offer five ways to reveal a file path on Mac and give our opinion of which one is best.

1. Show the File Path within the Finder

First, you can show a breadcrumb list of the whole file path within the Finder. To do this, open a Finder window, then navigate to the toolbar at the top.

Under the View menu, take a look at the Show Path Bar option. Once you click this or use the Option + Command + P shortcut, it will reveal the file path as a series of breadcrumbs at the bottom of the Finder window.

The Show Path Bar menu option.

You can copy the path name itself by right-clicking on the relevant folder and selecting “Copy … as pathname.”

The Copy…as Pathname option.

In fact, this is worth talking about in greater detail next.

2. Use the Context Menu to Copy a Path Name

A little known aspect of the macOS context menus is that you can toggle additional actions using the Option key. Much like the way to reveal and copy of a path name using the Path Bar, you can also find this option within the right-click context menu.

To do this, find a relevant file or folder, then right-click. Once the context menu appears, hold Option and notice the menu change.

The Copy…as Pathname within the context menu.

Once you click the “Copy … as Pathname” option, the clipboard will keep hold of it, and you can use it as you wish.

3. Use the “Go to Folder” Menu Option

There’s a more straightforward way to reveal a file path from the Finder window. To do this, you can use the “Go to Folder” option.

To start, open a Finder window in whatever manner you choose. Once it’s open, navigate to the toolbar at the top, then click the “Go” menu. Here, scroll to the bottom and choose “Go to Folder.”

The Go To Folder option.

In the dialog that pops up, drag and drop your file onto the path field. The full path of the file will be displayed.

Revealing a path using the Go to Folder option.

It’s a straightforward way of getting a file path and works if you’re using the Finder often.

4. Use the Terminal to Reveal a File Path on Mac

Many Terminal commands require you to enter in the full path of the file. As such, the Terminal app has the ability to show you the full path of any file located on your machine. Here’s how to do it.

First, launch Terminal through your preferred method. This could be using Spotlight, searching for it in Launchpad or browsing to the “Applications -> Utilities” folder and finding it there.

The Terminal app in the Utilities folder.

When the Terminal opens, you’ll be greeted with the command prompt. Under normal circumstances, you’ll work on the command line with text. In this case, you can drag and drop your file onto the Terminal, and the full path will appear in the window.

Revealing a file path on Mac in the Terminal.

This is a simple usability solution that saves a few minutes of time. Do note that you can open any folder from the Terminal, too.

5. Use the Automator App to Reveal a File Path on Mac

For the unaware, Automator lets you add many useful features that are not available on your Mac by default. In this case, you can use it to reveal a file path on Mac.

You’ll find the Automator app in the Applications folder.

The Automator app on Mac.

When you open it, Automator will ask you where to create your new service. This can be anywhere, but we’ll use the default folder.

Next, you’ll be asked what kind of document you’d like to create. Select “Quick Action,” then click on Choose to confirm.

Choosing a Quick Action in Automator.

From the next screen, you’ll need to set two options at the top of the Automator window. The final settings should read “Workflow receives current files or folders in Finder.”

Setting the workflow in Automator.

Once you’ve done this, use the Actions search field on the left side of the screen to find “Copy to Clipboard.” When you’ve found it, drag it over to the Workflow panel.

Dragging the Copy to Clipboard option to the Workflow area in Automator.

At this point, your service is ready. Once you save and name your automation, head back to the Finder.

From here, right-click on a file you’d like to reveal the path of, then select Services and choose the name of your automation. You’ll notice it’s in the Quick Actions sub-menu too.

The Quick Actions menu in Finder.

The automation will copy the full path of the file in question to the clipboard. At this point, you can paste it as text wherever you need to reveal its path.

The Automator method is an efficient way to reveal a file path on Mac, and you have a lot of scope to do more with the file path once you have it in the app.

Wrapping Up

It may not be something that you come across often, but revealing the full path of a file has a number of uses. In fact, there are a number of ways to reveal a file path on Mac, and the good news is that you can choose whichever one suits your needs at the time.

If you are looking to hide files, folders or desktop icons on your Mac or protect folders with a password instead, we have solutions for you, too.

Tom Rankin
Tom Rankin

Tom Rankin is a quality content writer for WordPress, tech, and small businesses. When he's not putting fingers to keyboard, he can be found taking photographs, writing music, playing computer games, and talking in the third-person.

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