How to Launch Terminal in the Current Folder Location on Mac

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Often while working with local files you may need to open a Terminal window in your current folder location. While doing that is as easy as pressing a button and clicking an option in Windows, things are different on Mac.

You are required to first enable an option in your Preferences panel, and then you will have the option to launch an instance of Terminal in any folder of your choice – this was as true five years ago as it is on Big Sur today.

Here’s how you can launch Terminal in the current folder location on your Mac.

Launch Terminal Window in the Current Folder on Mac

You do not need a third-party app to get the job done. All you need to do is visit the Preferences panel, tweak a few settings here and there, and you will be all set.

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner on your Mac, and select “System Preferences…” You will be taken to the Preferences panel on your Mac.
Launch Any Folder Mac Terminal System Prefs
  1. Click on “Keyboard” in the Preferences panel.
Launch Any Folder Mac Terminal Applications
  1. Once in the Keyboard panel, click on the “Shortcuts” tab.
Launch Any Folder Mac Terminal Keyboard Shortcut
  1. In the Shortcuts panel, click on “Services” in the left-hand menu. Scroll down in the right-hand menu, and select the options that say “New Terminal at Folder” and “New Terminal Tab at Folder.” These options should be next to each other.

Click on “none” next to “New Terminal at Folder,” and press a key combination on your keyboard to assign a new shortcut key to the feature. That way you will be able to launch a Terminal window using a shortcut key instead of pulling up the menu and selecting the option to launch one.

Launch Any Folder Mac Terminal New Terminal At Folderjpg
  1. Once you have enabled the options and assigned a keyboard shortcut, you can close the Preferences panel.
  1. Open the parent directory where your folder is located. Then single-click on the folder where you wish to launch a Terminal window, click on “Finder” followed by “Services,” and select “New Terminal at Folder.” Or you can simply press the keyboard shortcut that you assigned before.
Launch Any Folder Mac Terminal New Terminal At Folder 2
  1. A new Terminal window should launch in the current folder location allowing you to play around with the local files in that folder.
Launch Any Folder Mac Terminal Terminal

Launching a local instance of Terminal should now be easy for you. Should you ever wish to disable the feature, you can do so from the Preferences panel by just unchecking the boxes that you selected in the above steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I drag-and-drop folders into the Terminal?

Yes, if you keep the Terminal shortcut in your Dock, then you can open a specific folder in the Terminal by drag-and-dropping that folder from the Finder window onto the Terminal icon.

Alternatively, you can drag-and-drop the folder from Finder into an open Terminal window.

2. How do I navigate to a folder within the Terminal?

If you want to use the Terminal to navigate to folders, simply type cd followed by the directory you want to navigate to. For example cd Desktop or cd Desktop/Downloads

To see the current directory you’re in in the Terminal, type pwd, which stands for “print working directory”.

If your work revolves around working with local files using Terminal, and you do not want to go through the hassle of providing full paths to the files, you can simply use the above workaround to have Terminal launched keeping your current folder as its current working directory.

If you want to do the opposite, then see our guide on opening any folder from the Mac Terminal. We can also show you how to repair your macOS hard drive using fsck.

Robert Zak Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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