Create new text file from Finder toolbar


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.


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)
	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
	if new_file is in file_list then
		set new_file to file_name & " " & x & file_ext
		set x to x + 1
		exit repeat
	end if
end repeat

-- create and select the new file
tell application "Finder"
	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
		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. “”, 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.

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