New file here

by Giles Turnbull

Windows users, freshly arrived on Mac OS X, always ask the same questions. One of those is “How do I create a new file in this folder?”

It’s understandable they ask this, because they’re accustomed to right-clicking in any Windows Explorer view, and seeing a list of contextual options which include creating a new file (text or otherwise) at that point.

Whether or not you’re a switcher from Windows, if you’ve been looking for a way of re-creating that behavior on Mac OS X, there are various options available to you.

Document Palette is a freeware application that uses empty template files and a system-wide shortcut to let you pick from a list of new files to add.

NuFile is another choice, which again uses templates you can edit.

On My Command can be used to achieve the same effect, but it’s a geekier solution (and a far more powerful tool as a result).

But my chosen solution is Yellow Camp Software’s New File, because it lets you choose the file type simply by typing in the full filename with extension; then, having created the new file, it opens it for you in the default editor for that filetype. Quick and easy and very convenient.

What’s more, if you open it in Automator and re-save as an Application, rather than as a Finder plug-in, you can then drag that application into the Finder’s toolbar, and it becomes a very handy one-click route to new file goodness.


Andreas Bachofen
2007-06-18 09:00:46
And why would you want to create a file with nothing in it? If you are going to put some content in it, you end up opening the application anyway, so I just don't get the why.

Perhaps someone could point out an example to me where it could be useful?

Thanks a lot.

Jamie McC
2007-06-18 09:38:17
It's just a different way of working and thinking, that's all. Not better or worse of itself, just different. Slightly more "spatial", probably, but at the same time, maybe a necessity borne of a file-system that confuses the user. After all, I don't put my tent up then go to the camp-site. Although similarly, I don't press print and then type the contents.

You have to start somewhere, after all, and if you don't know what application to use to create the document you're going to create, then starting by creating the empty document is at least something. But then, I'm not sure that `right-click -> New -> {file-type}` is necessarily more obvious or less arcane than having to know how to launch an unknown application to create the document before saving it to the location you want it in.

Neither's perfect, both methods work. That'll do for me! :)

Giuseppe Alletti
2007-06-18 09:47:46
Why not using the "Stationery Pad" feature of the Finder?
Luk Dhondt
2007-06-18 10:30:35
There are obviously numerous options to achieve the same thing: Path Finder has a 'New file...' option by default, and also offers 'New text file' and 'New HTML file' options. Similar functionality is also available in the venerable Quicksilver.
2007-06-18 11:31:29
The Context menu Item I miss most is "Command window From here". I wish I could have one of those
2007-06-18 16:33:30
For BD:

Open Terminal Here:

2007-06-20 20:32:54
In my experience this isn't even an issue for switchers. I don't know any Windows user at my workplace of 300 staff who actually use this contextual menu. Everyone just creates a new document from within an application.