Adding Applications to Finder Toolbar

April 02, 2014

Adding applications to finder toolbar is a helpful way to easily open files and folders without clicking through menus and dialog boxes.

First off, if your not familiar with this rule, check out the Pareto principle (80/20 Rule). Basically 20% of the things we do make up 80% of our work. This includes the applications we use on our computers. Only 20% of the applications installed on our computer make up 80% of our day-to-day work (sometimes it can be 90/10, 70/30, etc…).

During my work day, I have to open folders with Sublime Text, get to directories in iTerm, and edit photos in Photoshop. Although Alfred is great for opening files with specific applications, most of the time I find myself inside a folder on Finder and I want to quickly open that file or folder. Here’s where today’s Mac Trick can help.

1. Adding Applications to Finder Toolbar

Note: This was performed with OS X 10.9.2.

To move an application to the toolbar, go to your application folder, select the application you want to add, then hold “Command” and drag the application to the toolbar, that’s it!

If you want to move or remove an application from the toolbar, hold “command” and drag it to it’s new location or drag it below the toolbar and release. Check out this fancy little GIF to see how it works in action.


You can put anything you want in the toolbar including folders, files. I have found the sidebar to be were I put all my current directories, and I use Alfred to access recent and most used files. Feel free to play around with the toolbar and see what works for you.

2. Open files and folders with the toolbar

To open files and folders with the applications you now have living in your toolbar, simple drag the folder or file you want to open onto the desired application (DON’T hold down “command”).  It’s really easy, check out a quick example:


That’s it! Feel free to experiment and use the 80/20 rule to figure out what applications you use the most. I hope this trick for adding applications to the finder toolbar can save you some time, I know it has for me.

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Josh Medeski

Hi there, I'm Josh. I talk about productivity, personal development, programming and more here on my website. I'm a full-stack developer by day and live in Houston, TX with my dog, Anna.
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