How to Create an Alias File (Shortcut) in macOS

This guide will explain how to create aliases (sometimes called “shortcuts”) on your Mac.

An alias is a file or folder that points to another file or folder. Initially that might seem rather unnecessary, but the more you use them the more useful you find them. You can move aliases around and not have to worry about or track down the original file. Or create folders full of aliases to specific Apps – eg. a folder with aliases to all of your graphics Apps.
Finder window with 6 alias files
There are a number of ways to create an alias. The easiest is to right-click (or Control + click for single-button mouse folks) the file or folder you want to create an alias of and select Make Alias from the contextual menu.

Finder right-click context menu with Make Alias highlighted

You can also select the file/folder in Finder and then choose File -> Make Alias

Finder menu bar File context menu with Make Alias highlighted

A third way to create an alias is to hold down the Option and Command keys when you drag and drop a file or folder and instead of moving or copying the file, it will create an alias of it.

Aliases are easily recognizable by the small ‘arrow’ that gets added to the bottom left corner of each icon (see screenshot below).

3 alias files with the arrow part of the icon highlighted

Another use for aliases is to add a folder full of them to your Dock and use it as a launcher for a custom group of files.

macos doc with expanded menu of alias files

{ 1 comment… add one }

Leave a Comment