Mac OS X – Quickly Copy Folder & File Paths

One of the most annoying things about using Mac OS X is the difficulty in swiftly copying a file or folder’s absolute path. Yes, you can open the ‘Get Info’ popup and copy the directory, but for the lazy (like me) that’s too much work for something so simple. The alternative? Automator + Keyboard Shortcuts. For the below, I’m using OS X 10.9.3.


Step 1 – Open Automator (Spotlight -> Automator) and select ‘Service’ as per the screenshot below.

Select 'Service' from 'Choose a type of Document' screen.
Select ‘Service’ from ‘Choose a type of Document’ screen.












Step 2 – Search for ‘copy’ in the ‘actions’ list and drag ‘Copy to Clipboard’ to the right panel.

Select Copy to Clipboard as an action.
Select Copy to Clipboard as an action.







Step 3 – Change the ‘Service receives selected’ to ‘files and folders’ and in to ‘Finder’.

Change the settings to the above
Change the settings to the above






Step 4 – Save the service (File -> Save) and name it ‘Copy path to clipboard’ or something else you deem relevant.

Now we need to create a keyboard shortcut for this newly created service.


Keyboard Settings

Step 5 Go to ‘Keyboard’ in the ‘Settings’ menu and select the ‘Shortcuts’ tab.

Configure the Keyboard Shortcut for the new Service
Configure the Keyboard Shortcut for the new Service












Step 6 – Select ‘Services’ from the left list and look for the newly created service in the list on the right. Once you find it, I named mine ‘Copy Paths as Text’ assign a keyboard shortcut to it.

Configure the keyboard shortcut for the newly created service
Configure the keyboard shortcut for the newly created service








Now you can select any folder/file, press the keyboard shortcut combination and paste the absolute paths anywhere needed. Mind you, with this service you can select multiple folders/files and get all their paths.

The Daunting Shackles

It is very strange, borderline depressing the feeling you get when a million and one ideas are flowing in your head but you’re not able to develop a single one of them. A hint of achievement and a fake sense of accomplishment accompany the act of jotting down these ideas on a notebook of some sort, drawing a few diagrams and laying it all to eternal hibernation. None seem so clear to drive you to pursue them yet all have a certain flare of potential that drives you mad, if not, insane.

You start wondering, why not? Why am I not able to effectively work on any of them? Why am I not able to pursue what shakes my intellect and drives a mesmerizing excitement in my head?

The answers start flowing in… None satisfactory but all so real. Loans, mortgage, family, financial stability, the economy, time, pressure of the day job, deadlines, deliverables, power drain, few elements of reality among many, many other uncontrollable barriers. You lay down that notebook with a strong feeling of anxiety and despair. The ‘daunting shackles of reality’ have bitten you again.

Quite often, an idea seems so good that you forcibly spare a few hours of what’s left of your evenings to actively engage in doing some research of what’s out there, developing a proof of concept or a rushed prototype. Sometimes, you develop a feeling of: ‘fuck if I care’, driving you to start tackling the business aspect of your idea, looking for some empirical evidence, with a shred of hope that it would be strong enough for you to let go of what’s holding you back and embark on the journey of the unknown. Yet again, the crazier the idea the smaller the needle becomes, and ever so larger the haystack becomes.

Many times, you wonder, how did my life reach this uncontrollable state? Where is that ‘freedom’ that I protected for so many years? When did it, disappear? When have I become so dependent on so many things that I cannot let go of? Why the hell am I so helpless in the attempt to pursue what ‘I care about’? Of course, the answers are not to be found because all the reasons that drove the decision making process are long gone, vanished. Yet, you’re stuck battling the consequences.

Have I crossed the threshold of no return? Will I ever make it? Will I ever be able to develop the chance of tinkering and doing what I enjoy, irrespective of how good am I at it? It’s ironic how as a kid, we used to believe that adulthood equated freedom. In some sense, that statement is far from the truth, yet so close.

With all that’s said and done, I used to joke with a colleague that ‘the only way up is down’. Funny how, now, I feel that this joke seems to be the only logical path to pursue.

P.S: I’m not a fan of posts reflecting helplessness and a victimization aspect, the purpose of this post is to describe a commonly shared, but not so spoken of, state of mind.