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Finder quirk: Can not create New Folder in current folder in List View

1421 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Apr 1, 2014 2:20 PM by Jim_Spriggs RSS
dzarras Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 7, 2012 8:06 AM

I've seen a lot of discussion about this going back for years, with a lot of confusion among the "answers", including blaming the end-user for not understanding the Finder.   Lion STILL has a a Finder "quirk" regarding "New Folder" when viewed "as List."   Here's how to see it:


1. Launch the Finder.

2. Put the Finder into "List View" (View-->as List, or Command-2)

3. Navigate to some nested sub-folder and click on that folder such that it is highlighted in blue.

4. Select "File-->New Folder" (or Shift-Command-N):

5. Notice that the new, "untitled folder" is created at the root level, not as a child of the selected sub-folder.


At best, this is bad user-interface design, as the action does not operate on the thing that is selected in the user interface.   At worst, this is a bug, and a long-standing one at that.   At the minimum, the behavior is inconsistent with that of the Column View, which always places the newly created folder inside the currently selected one.


Can anyone comment on why Finder operates this way in List View?     I contend that at step 4, above, the most obvious interpretation of the user's action is to place the new folder in the selected sub-folder.


Yes, you can name the "untitled folder" as desired and then drag it into previously selected sub-folder.  But in a lengthy list of items, this can be unwieldy.  Yes, you can just use the Column View.  


Is this behavior too "baked in" to Finder's history to correct?   Do "too many" existing users actually prefer this behavior in List View?  


I'm not really looking for a "correct answer" here, although I'll award points for the most authoritative response as to what Apple's intention is with the software's behavior.  



  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (59,145 points)

    It'll always do that because the folder window you have open has the focus, exactly as the selected column has the focus in column view. Since you can select multiple nested folders, CMD+SHIPT+N, wouldn't know what to do. That behavior's consistent in column view if you select numerous subfolders and create a new one.

    27" i7 iMac 10.6.8 , Mac OS X (10.7.3), G4 450 MP 1.5 GB RAM w/(10.5.8/10.4.11/9.2.2)
  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,445 points)

    As baltwo says.

    Feel free to file an BR/ER on the issue. But the response will be "works as expected".

  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,445 points)

    Yes, it seems to me to work as it should. But then, I use Column View in my Finder.

    In List View, it seems less intuitive.

  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (59,145 points)

    dzarras wrote:

    Let's define "focus" (I'm a software developer... maybe you are too?)...

    No, just an user.

    Yes, the window has focus, but within the window, the selected folder(s) has/have focus, too.

    But, not as windows, only as objects or elements. That's why it works the way it does. In column view, which I disdain, the column has the focus, acting as a surrogate window.

    In the case of having only one selected folder, isn't it reasonable to assume that the "New Folder" will create a sub-folder as a child of that selected folder??

    IMO, no, for the already stated reasons. As for filing bug reports or enhancements use Apple's Apple BugReporter  or file feedback.

    27" i7 iMac 10.6.8 , Mac OS X (10.7.3), G4 450 MP 1.5 GB RAM w/(10.5.8/10.4.11/9.2.2)
  • planetexplorer Calculating status...



    For what it's worth, I find the fact that any New Folder is created at the root level to be extremely annoying and counterproductive. It takes me extra clicks & drags just to get it where it obviously should have been created. You are not alone in your frustation. If you ever find a solution, I would love to hear about it!

  • alewando Calculating status...

    I know this is an old thread, but I came across it while trying to do the same thing and thought others may be interested in my near-solution. I too find this behavior very annoying. I was able to get close to what I wanted with an Automater Service (details below). Save this service as "New Folder" and then in Finder you can right-click on a folder or file and go to Services > 'New Folder' and you will get a new folder, but in the parent of the folder you right-clicked on (ie: you get a sibling folder, not one under the selected folder). This is not quite what I wanted, but close enough. I usually right-click on a file in the directory (if one exists) to get the desired behavior.



  • emmfc8 Calculating status...

    +1 That this is terrible behavior for such an evolved OS.  I'm an IT Project Manager, not a developer.  But I'm **** sure I would have sent the developer back the drawing board if this behavior came up in QA.  I would think even Apple employees would want this fixed!


    Column view is not intuitive, it restricts the amount of information the user can view (no mulitple subfolder paths).  Saying this is working as expected is crazy.

  • Jim_Spriggs Calculating status...

    Just stumbled on this discussion, and even though it's now two years and two OS X releases later, the fault (yes, fault) still isn't fixed.


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