How To Merge Two Folders Into One On Your Mountain Lion Mac [OS X Tips]

Merge Mountain Lion

When you drag a bunch of items into a folder in the Finder on your Mac and some of the items in there have the same name, your Mac will ask you if you want to replace the items in the folder you’re dragging to. This is all well and good when you’re trying to do just that, but what about when you want to merge the files from the first folder to the second?

Well, it’s amazingly simple.

Create or find a couple of folders on your Mac that you want to merge. You can drag a bunch of files from one folder to the other, and see the Replace dialog that typically comes up when you do so: Skip, Stop, or Replace. If you want to put all the non-conflicting files in, hit Skip. If you want them to replace the items in the destination folder, choose Replace. If you want to cancel the whole process, use Stop.

Hit Stop to cancel the process, and then try this:

Hold the Option key down when you drag the files into the second folder. You’ll see a green Plus image appear when the mouse hovers over the destination folder. When you release the mouse button to start the merge, keep holding down the Option key. You’ll then see three choices: Stop, Replace, or Keep Both. To merge the folders without replacing anything, click on Keep Both.

This isn’t as intuitive a name as Merge, which was what this feature was called in OS X Lion, but it’ll do. Just be sure to keep holding that Option key down or you’ll see the standard three choices.

  • MarcLaf

    Coming from Windows, these options still don’t make sense to me. If I have a two folders both called Folder and a file in one called File1 and in the second folder called File2, what do I select when dragging one onto the other so I end up with both File1 and File2 in the same folder? Does Replace overwrite the folder with the other? Or only the files with the same name? Like you said, Merge isn’t a written option. Am I to understand “Keep Both” is akin to Merge?

  • kamasheto

    @MarcLaf if you press the Option key a “Merge” option does appear. Just use that.

    With the following structure:

    folder
    – folder1
    — folder3
    —– file1.txt
    – folder2
    — folder3
    —– file2.txt

    Try moving folder1/folder3 into folder2/ with the Opt key and without. You’ll see the difference.

    • Alan Ezekiel

      Doesn’t work, (Mavericks) the options are stop, keep newer, replace!

  • http://www.jopv.net/ Jop

    THANKS!

  • YemSalat

    Fuck you this does not work!!!

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Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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