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Learn how to copy and move files from one folder to another on the Mac, as well as copy files to a different drive and group a selection of files into a new folder.

In this lesson, you’ll learn the basics of moving files from one folder to another, and how you can easily copy that same file to a folder instead of moving it. I also show you how moving files to a different drive works on the Mac. When you drag a file from one folder to another, it copies it, but when you drag it to another hard drive, it copies it! I also look at grouping a selection of files into a new folder. Learn about copying, moving, and grouping files in this video for the Mac.

Video TranscriptIn this video, we’re going to take a look at how it can move, copy, and group files and folders on the Mac. Let’s go to my Mac. Let’s first open up a couple of Finder windows. What I’m going to do is I’m going to go down to my Finder here, click on it, and we have one Finder window. With this one, what we’re going to do is we’re going to go to our documents folder. Now, let’s go to open up a new window. I’m going to go to my downloads folder. Now, we have my two folders here.

Let’s first look at how we move files. Pretty simple. All we have to do is click and drag from one folder to the other. I want to move my travel brochure. I click and drag, and I moved it. It did not copy it. What it did is it moved it.

Now, let’s say I wanted to copy it. In this case, what I want to do is I want to copy this animal’s document. Now, I still click and drag to move it over to the other folder, but now what I need to do is I also need to hold down the option key. When I hold down the option key and click and drag, you’re going to see we have a green plus. This means it is going to duplicate that document. It’s going to copy it. Now I have my animals document here, and I have my animals document here, so I can click and drag, and it’ll move it from one folder to another. If I use the option key, what it’ll do is copy it, and this also works with folders. I could go over to this folder and then click and drag it over, and it’ll move it over. If I hold down the option key, it’ll copy it.

Now, let’s say you wanted to move it to a different drive, such as a flash drive or an external hard drive. In my case, what I have here is my DropBox. I want to move a file over there. Well, when you click and drag to move a file, what it actually will do is it will copy it over there. Let’s go and open up my dropbox. I’m going to move this one to over a little bit here. Now, when I drag this over there, remember how we had the green plus only when I held down the option key or watch what happens when I drag this over to my dropbox, I have the green plus; I’m not holding down the option key.

By default, when you drag a file or folder over to an external hard drive or flash drive, what it will do is it will copy it. That’s why we see the green plus. If you want to move it, what you’ll have to do is go back to the original folder and then delete it. It’s a two-step process. You can also use the command key to move a file instead of copying it. When you press the command key, it’ll just move it over to your external hard drive; it will not copy it. When you’re copying a file or a folder to an external hard drive or a flash drive by default, when you drag it over, it’ll copy it. You’ll have to go back to the original file and delete it. If you hold down the command key, while you’re dragging it over, then what it will do is move it. That’s how we move a file over to an external drive.

Now, we can also group files into a folder. Let’s go and select these images here. What I want to do is I want to place those into a folder. Well, one way of doing that is going up to file in the menu bar and then going and create a new folder and then moving them over to that folder, but also what we can do is we can go and create a new folder with my selection. What this will do is create a new folder, and any file I have selected will be placed in that new folder. Let’s go ahead and do this. Now, we can see we have my new folder. I name it, let’s call this Images. When we go and open up the triangle here, you’re going to see I have my four images. We can also use our secondary menu to do this. I have these three movies here. Let’s go and select them. What I want you to do is I want to place them in a new folder. I’m going to use my secondary menu. I can use a control key and then click or being that I have a trackpad, I just two-finger tap. You’re going to see we have a new folder with selection. I select it, and now I name it. When we open it up, we have my three movies in there.

That’s how I move, copy, and group items on the Mac.

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