March 14, 2018

Create new text file from Finder toolbar

image

Problem

Under macOS, sometimes we want to make new text files directly in place while browsing some folders in Finder. Opening a text editor, creating a file, and saving it to the target path is not efficient in this situation. However there is no built-in context menu item to do this as in Windows.

Solution

We can make an simple application from AppleScript, and place a shortcut in Finder’s toolbar. When you click the icon, a default text file will be created in current folder, and it will be in the status of renaming so that you can change the filename conveniently.

Step 1

Open Script Editor, and create a new script with the following contents:

set file_name to "untitled"
set file_ext to ".md"
set is_desktop to false

-- get folder path and if we are in desktop (no folder opened)
try
	tell application "Finder"
		set this_folder to (folder of the front Finder window) as alias
	end tell
on error
	-- no open folder windows
	set this_folder to path to desktop folder as alias
	set is_desktop to true
end try

-- get the new file name (do not override an already existing file)
tell application "System Events"
	set file_list to get the name of every disk item of this_folder
end tell
set new_file to file_name & file_ext
set x to 1
repeat
	if new_file is in file_list then
		set new_file to file_name & " " & x & file_ext
		set x to x + 1
	else
		exit repeat
	end if
end repeat

-- create and select the new file
tell application "Finder"
	
	activate
	set the_file to make new file at folder this_folder with properties {name:new_file}
	if is_desktop is false then
		reveal the_file
	else
		select window of desktop
		set selection to the_file
	end if
	
	delay 0.4
	
end tell


-- press enter (rename)
tell application "System Events"
	tell process "Finder"
		keystroke return
	end tell
end tell

(Acknowledgement: The script is borrowed from this post. I did a little modification by adding a delay line to avoid wrong keystroke.)

Note that you can change the default filename and suffix in the first two lines. Here I set it as Markdown file.

Step 2

Export the script as an Application, e.g. “NewTxtFileInFinder.app”, and put it in Application folder.

Step 3

In Application folder, Drag the app to the Finder’s toolbar while holding the command button.

Step 4 (optional)

Turn off the annoying warning when changing the file suffix. This can be set in Finder’s Preference -> Advanced.

Step 5 (optional)

Change app icon to a beautiful and meaningful one.

  • Find or make a icon file with suffix icns.
  • In Finder, select the app, Cmd+i to show the info panel.
  • Drag the icns file to the top-left to replace the icon.

Other solutions

An app New File Menu can add a context menu to Finder and can be used to create different documents like in Windows. It supports many formats besides text file though requires more clicks to create a new file.

Last modified: 2018-05-01