14 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2016 2:12 PM by JRA Ward Branched to a new discussion.
dzarras Level 1 (0 points)

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 (62,215 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.

  • dzarras Level 1 (0 points)

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


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


    I tried to describe the "selected folder" above, as the one being "blue".  In the case where that is the only selected folder, that folder has the focus, in that it responds to the arrow keys, (right arrow opens the folder, etc.), keystrokes cause a jump to files within that folder and so on.


    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??


    I completely agree that in the case of multiple selected folders, "New Folder" woudn't know what to do (although the "New Folder with Selection" command then makes sense).   In that case, I'd propse that "New Folder" should be disabled.


    Denoting a single folder as "current"/"selected" is important visual feedback.  I don't see why New Folder would want to ignore that information.    From what I can see searching around the web, a lot of users find this behavior annoying and confusing, and I agree with them (just my opinion, I know).    But it's an easy fix -- I'm somewhat questioning what the downside of the fix would be... is there a large user community out there that prefers the current behavior?


    For what it's worth, some developers refer to "focus problems" as "f*ck us problems" -- with good reason ;-)

  • macjack Level 9 (51,632 points)

    As baltwo says.

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

  • dzarras Level 1 (0 points)

    Just curious, do you like how it works?

  • macjack Level 9 (51,632 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 (62,215 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.

  • dzarras Level 1 (0 points)

    To both baltwo and macjack,


    Not to be irrating, but to be really specific, say you had a Folder structure like this (at the Documents level):



        > Events

         > Data

        > Orders

        V Receipts

               > 2010

              > 2011

              V 2012

                  > AutoCare

                   > CreditCards

                   > Food

                  > Insurance

                   > School          

         > Trips

         > Writings


    If you wanted to add a sub-folder to Documents>Receipts>2012 called 'Medical', would you just click New Folder, type the folder name "Medical", and drag it into place?    Seems like a hassle, especially if in reality, the two locations were physically far apart in the Finder.


    Also, what if you actually wanted to name that Receipts sub-folder "Data"?    Since that already exists within Documents, New Folder would actually not allow you to use that name, even though "Data" would be unique within Receipts.


    No need to debate this here... I'm just doing it for completeness, as a reference for others to consider.   It's an easy thing for Apple to fix. I'll make the proposal to them.

  • planetexplorer Level 1 (0 points)



    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 Level 1 (0 points)

    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 Level 1 (0 points)

    +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 Level 1 (0 points)

    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.

  • jpmhouston Level 1 (0 points)

    I made something similar to 's automator workflow a few years ago, but it was too slow on my old Mac so put it aside. Recently started using it again after getting a newer computer and it works really well. Its restricted to be visible only in list view, and when right-clicking on (or when selection is) a single file or folder, and is titled "New Folder Here". And also if that selection is itself a folder then another version of the workflow is also visible titled "New Folder Within".


    Read more, or leave comments at http://www.reddit.com/r/osx/comments/3481wh/services_menu_workflow_for_creating_ folder_in/

    Download from https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zeo0qld1ag9drzj/AABoAZJwvBoKOaJhp5jbFuKZa?dl=0

  • P__M Level 1 (0 points)

    Now we're almost 2016 and this is still not fixed... Simply don't understand Apple considers this "normal" behavior .

  • JRA Ward Level 1 (0 points)

    Well, it's now the future (2016) and this is still an issue that bugs me.