Starting Terminal In the Current Directory In OS X Finder

I use the terminal on OS X a lot. I also use Finder to navigate the file system. Sometimes I want to start a terminal session in the current Finder location. To do it, I found the cd to… app.

Last year, when I was mainly on Windows, I showed how to use AutoHotkey to launch the command prompt from anywhere. Now that I’m mostly on OS X, the terminal is even more useful than the command prompt on Windows. It’s only natural that I want similar access to it.

The cd to… app does something similar. When executed, it opens a new terminal window, at the active Finder location. The app can live in the Finder toolbar for quick one-click access. I prefer staying at the keyboard as much as I can, so I rather invoke it with Spotlight, or using a keyboard shortcut assigned to launch it.

This is part of my Mac Power User Training series. Follow it to see how I try to go from Mac novice to a pro.

The “cd to…” app for OS X makes it easy to launch a terminal session at the current Finder location!

The app, from GitHub user jbtule, is open source, which is already a plus. It’s also fast, which is important for this kind of things.

Installation and usage are simple, and well documented in the app README. If you’re on OS X Mavericks (or later), and you want to drag it into the Finder toolbar, don’t forget to hold ⌥⌘ when dragging.

The README refers to Mavericks, but I confirm that it works the same on Yosemite.

Using the cd to… app from the keyboard

The README covers the one-click in the Finder toolbar use case. I experimented with launching it in other ways, and I can confirm it works.

Executing it from the Finder toolbar promises that you’re indeed in an active Finder window, but this is not mandatory. I tried also launching the app using Spotlight, and with the ⌃⌥⌘T key-combo that I assigned to launch the app. In both cases, the behavior from within a Finder window is the same. Also in both cases, when used outside Finder, the terminal session started at the last Finder location that was in focus.

Things I would change in the app

I would prefer a different behavior when used outside Finder – start in the logged on user home directory. I can live with the existing behavior. It’s easy enough to type cd to get to the home directory once the terminal session starts.

It would also be nice if the app had an option to open a new terminal tab instead of a new terminal window.

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