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Chapter 4. Advanced Finder Techniques > Spring-Loaded Folders

Spring-Loaded Folders

The spring-loaded folders feature lets you move or copy items into folders deep within the file structure of a disk—without manually opening a single folder. Instead, you simply drag icons onto folders (Figures 56 and 58) and wait as they’re automatically opened (Figures 57 and 59). When you drop the icon into the final window, all windows except the source and destination windows automatically close (Figure 60).

Figure 56. Drag an icon onto a folder and wait...

Figure 57. ...until the folder opens.

Figure 58. Continue to drag the icon onto a folder in that window and wait...

Figure 59. ...until that folder opens.

Figure 60. When you’re finished, only the source window (which is active) and the destination window remain open.


  • Although the spring-loaded folders feature is available in Mac OS 9.x, it was not added to Mac OS X until Mac OS X 10.2. The “click and a half” feature available in Mac OS 9.x, however, is still not available in Mac OS X.

  • The spring-loaded folders feature is sometimes refered to as spring-open folders.

  • Using the spring-loaded folders feature requires a steady hand, good mouse skills, and knowledge of the location of folders on your disk.

  • To use the spring-loaded folders feature, the Spring-loaded folders and windows check box must be turned on in the Finder Preferences window (Figure 2). You can also set the spring-loaded folder delay length in this window. I tell you about Finder Preferences at the beginning of this chapter.

  • To use the spring-loaded folders feature to move or copy more than one item at a time, select the items first, then drag any one of them.

To move an item using spring-loaded folders

Drag the item you want to move onto the folder to which you want to move it (Figure 56), but do not release the mouse button. After a moment, the folder blinks and opens (Figure 57).

Without releasing the mouse button, repeat step 1. The destination folder becomes selected (Figure 58), then blinks and opens (Figure 59). Do this until you reach the final destination.

Release the mouse button to place the item into the destination window. All windows other than the source and destination windows close; the source window remains active (Figure 60).


  • In steps 1 and 2, to open a folder immediately, press while dragging an item onto it.

  • To close a folder’s window so you can open a different folder in the same window, drag the item away from the open window. The window closes so you can drag the item onto a different folder and open it.

To copy an item using spring-loaded folders

Hold down while following the above steps.


  • If the destination folder is on another disk, it is not necessary to hold down to copy items; they’re automatically copied.

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