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How to create folders on a Mac like a Pro

How to create folders on a Mac like a Pro

A proper file system is critical for keeping your digital life organized on a Mac. Too often, we allow our ‘desktop’ or ‘documents’ folder to become cluttered with random files. 

Some rely on the Mac’s search feature to find files, but what about those times you can’t remember a file name? Even worse: what if the file name is some garbled string of characters instead of having a proper name, or the dreaded ‘untitled document’?

Here, we’ll show you how to create a folder on your Mac, and discuss some best practices for staying organized and productive on your Mac computer.

3 ways to make a new folder on a Mac

There are three main ways to create a new folder on your Mac:

Finder. In your Mac’s Finder utility, you can make a folder for your Mac. The folder appears wherever you currently are in your Finder file tree. Simply go to File > New folder in the Finder menu.

Mouse or trackpad shortcut. From your desktop or in the Finder file system, simply right-click (mouse) or two-finger tap (trackpad) to bring up a menu; the first option is ‘new folder,’ which creates a new empty folder wherever in the system you are.

File selection. Most often used for sub-folders, you can select multiple files and use the mouse or trackpad shortcuts above to create a new folder that has those files in it.


How to create folders via Terminal

Your Mac’s Terminal features is powerful; it’s essentially root access to your entire machine. You can create a file or folder in Terminal, but a word of caution before you proceed: don’t mess with Terminal unless you’re really confident in what you’re doing.

But when you need to create folders Mac terminal is really powerful. Here, we’ll go through how to create a folder on the desktop using your Mac’s Terminal.

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac
  2. Type ‘cd desktop‘ into Terminal
  3. Press enter
  4. Type ‘mkdir test-folder-1‘ 

That’s all you have to do! So, a few notes on Terminal commands for creating files and folders. The term ‘cd’ means ‘change directory.’ It’s a navigation command; you could also ‘cd’ into documents, downloads, or any other main destination.

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Keep in mind you can’t change directory straight into a sub-folder. If you wanted to access a folder named ‘personal’ in your ‘documents’ folder, you would have to ‘cd’ into documents, then ‘cd’ into personal. It’s a bit laborious.

The ‘mkdir’ command means ‘make directory.’ In computer-speak, any folder is a directory. In the above commands, we’re telling the Mac to go to the desktop and make a folder named ‘test-folder-1.’

But there’s one great time-saving trick for Terminal: you can create multiple files with one command. Here’s how:

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac
  2. Type ‘cd desktop‘ into Terminal
  3. Press enter
  4. Type ‘mkdir test1 test2 test3


As you can see, this creates three new folders on the desktop. Every time you hit the space bar after the first folder name in a ‘mkdir’ command, Terminal understands it as a new ‘mkdir’ command.