Default Folder

Default Folder in Action

Default Folder X has been misbehaving quite a bit since I started using Mavericks. I clicked the “check for updates” button in its control panel and was disappointed to discover that I had the latest version. So, I went to the website and found out that there’s a beta that addresses the problems I’ve been having. Problem solved.

I felt an overwhelming urge to give a shout out to Default Folder, so here it is. This is the single most awesome utility on the Mac and has been for twenty years, give or take. It wasn’t the first program to do what it does, but it entered a market crowded with competitors (Now Utilities, Norton’s, and others) and simply outlived them.

And in all this time, I think I’ve paid for three, maybe four, upgrades.


Default Folder is a program that somehow extends standard open and save dialogs. It used to be a “Control Panel” in Mac Classic, now it’s some kind of background app. How it works isn’t important (it works!).

It does three incredibly useful things.

It lets you change the folder an open/save dialog is pointed at to any folder open on your desktop by picking it from a menu or (even better) just feeling around for where the folder’s window is (it gives you feedback) and clicking. How often do you have a folder open and want to get something out of it or save something into it from an open/save dialog? All. The. Fucking. Time. Well, Default Folder makes it really fast and really easy.

It remembers where you were in any given folder in any given application — so the file you had selected last time is what’s selected the next time.

It gives you access to pretty much all of Finder’s functionality from inside open/save dialogs, including the ability to rename, move, and delete files, and a quick look pane that’s always open, and — in Mavericks — which provides view/edit access to tags.

That’s basically it. I use it every day, dozens of times without thinking, and every time it saves me time, mistakes, and frustration. Almost anyone I’ve shown it to can’t believe they’ve lived without it. As far as I know there’s nothing equivalent for Windows or Linux (doubly depressing since they both need it ever worse).

That’s it. $35 is quite a bit for such a “simple” thing, but it’s seriously worth it. And the developer will not nickel and dime you for compatibility updates and other B.S. No, I am not being paid in any way, shape, or form to say this.