How to Get Path of a File in Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide


Ted Stinson

Getting the path of a file on your Mac is easier than you think. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, knowing how to find a file’s path can be super handy. It can help you quickly navigate to a file in Terminal, share the file location with someone else, or just help you organize your stuff. So, let’s dive in and get you that path!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Get Path of a File in Mac

Before we start, knowing the path of a file can help you in many ways. It’s like having the exact address of where your file lives on your Mac. Ready? Let’s go!

Step 1: Open Finder

Open Finder, the happy little blue face icon on your dock.

Finder is your gateway to all the files and folders on your Mac. Think of it as the librarian of your computer, helping you find what you need.

Step 2: Navigate to the File

Find the file whose path you want to know.

Just like looking for a book in a library, you need to know what you’re looking for and where it might be. Use the search bar if you’re not sure where it is.

Step 3: Select the File

Click once on the file to select it.

Be gentle—no need to double-click. We’re not opening the file, just giving it a little nudge to say, "Hey, I choose you!"

Step 4: Right-Click on the File

With the file selected, right-click on it to open the context menu.

Don’t be shy—right-clicking won’t bite. It’s just another way to tell your Mac, "I want more options, please!"

Step 5: Press the ‘Option’ Key

Hold down the ‘Option’ key on your keyboard.

Like a magic wand, the Option key transforms your options and reveals new secrets.

Step 6: Click ‘Copy "File Name" as Pathname’

While holding down the ‘Option’ key, click on ‘Copy "File Name" as Pathname’ in the context menu.

This is the moment of truth. By choosing this, you’re telling your Mac to copy the file’s exact location onto your clipboard.

After completing these steps, you’ll have the full path of the file saved to your clipboard, ready to be pasted wherever you need it. It’s like having the secret coordinates to a hidden treasure!

Tips: Making the Most of Getting the Path of a File in Mac

  • You can quickly open the context menu by using a two-finger click on a trackpad or a control-click on a mouse.
  • If you’re a keyboard shortcut fan, after selecting the file, you can press ‘Command + Option + C’ to copy the file path without going through the context menu.
  • To paste the copied path, simply go to the desired location and press ‘Command + V’.
  • You can also drag and drop the file into Terminal, and it will automatically paste the file’s path.
  • Using this method will give you an absolute path, which starts from the root directory of your Mac.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a file path?

A file path is the exact location where a file is stored on your computer, kind of like an address for where the file lives.

Can I use the file path for sharing with others?

Absolutely! A file path is a great way to tell someone exactly where to find a file on their Mac if they have the same file structure as you.

Does this method work for folders too?

Yes, it does! The same steps apply if you want to find the path of a folder on your Mac.

What’s the difference between an absolute path and a relative path?

An absolute path gives the full address from the root of the filesystem, while a relative path starts from the current directory.

What do I do if the ‘Copy "File Name" as Pathname’ option doesn’t appear?

Make sure you’re holding down the ‘Option’ key. If it still doesn’t show up, try clicking on a different part of the file, like its name or icon.


  1. Open Finder.
  2. Navigate to the file.
  3. Select the file.
  4. Right-click on the file.
  5. Press the ‘Option’ key.
  6. Click ‘Copy "File Name" as Pathname’.


There you have it, folks! The secrets to uncovering the path of a file on your Mac revealed. No more getting lost in the maze of your file system. With these simple steps, you’ll be a pathfinding wizard, impressing your friends and streamlining your workflow. Remember, this little trick is more than just a party trick; it’s a productivity booster that’ll save you time and frustration.

Consider this your new superpower in the Mac universe, and use it wisely. Whether you’re a developer, a designer, or just someone who likes to keep things tidy, knowing how to get the path of a file is a skill that will serve you well. Explore your Mac with newfound confidence, and never hesitate to dig into those file directories again.

So, what are you waiting for? Start flexing those pathfinding muscles and make your Mac journey a breeze. And if you ever feel lost, just come back to this guide for a quick refresher. Happy pathfinding!