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How to add the MacOS Finder Path Bar for easier navigation

The MacOS Finder app is a solid file manager with a few added tricks up its sleeve to make it even better. Here's one that can help simplify navigation.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
MacOS collage
We Are/Getty Images

The file manager is a ubiquitous piece of software that most people either neglect or forget about until it's needed. But when you use the file manager on a daily basis, you understand how important it is and how a well-designed app can help make your life a bit easier.

MacOS Finder is definitely one such application. Out of the box, you probably think Finder is user-friendly and helpful. But what if I told you there was an easy way to make it even more so?

Also: How to enable swiping between pages with the MacOS mouse

What I'm talking about is the Finder Path Bar. This feature indicates (at the bottom of the Finder window) the exact path of your current working folder. You might not think this is a useful feature -- until you're unsure which directory you're in, or you need to back up to the previous (or parent) directory. 

For example, you might be in Documents, but did you know that Documents is actually found in Macintosh HD > Users > username > Documents (where username is your MacOS username)? With the Finder Path Bar, you see that destination laid out very clearly, and you can easily back into any directory contained within the path. Without the Path Bar, that's not so simple.

If this sounds like a feature you might want to add to Finder, then read on.

How to enable the Finder Path Bar

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need is a device running MacOS. I'll demonstrate this on an iMac, running MacOS Ventura, version 13.4.1.

1. Open Finder

The first step is to log in to your MacOS device and open the Finder app, which can be done either from the Dock or the Launchpad.

2. Method 1: Via the Finder menu

With Finder open, you have two options for enabling the Path Bar. 

Also: How to enable automatic app updates on MacOS

The first is to click the View menu and select Show Path Bar. 

The Finder View menu.

Adding the Path Bar from the Finder View menu.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Method 2: Via the keyboard shortcut

The second method is done via a keyboard shortcut. 

Also: MacBook having trouble sleeping? Battery running down? Try this utility

To add the Finder Path Bar, hit the keyboard combination Option + Command + P.

Regardless of the method, the Finder Path Bar will appear at the bottom of the Finder window, making it easier for you to see exactly where you are in the file system hierarchy and to navigate backward.

The MacOS Finder app.

With the Path Bar added, I can more easily navigate backward or just know exactly where I am in the file system hierarchy.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

How to disable the Finder Path Bar

Disabling the Finder Path Bar is just as easy. All you have to do is either click View > Hide Finder Path Bar, or use the same keyboard shortcut you applied to show the Path Bar. 

Also: How to use MacOS Reminders (and why you should)

The Finder Path Bar is always just a click away from being visible. I tend to leave it enabled, so I always know where I am and can quickly switch to any child or parent directory relative to where I am in the file system hierarchy. Give this feature a try and see if it helps improve your file management in MacOS.

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