Show the Original Item from an Alias in Mac OS

Show the Original Item from an Alias in Mac OS

Finding original items by alias on Mac

Using Mac aliases as a shortcut for launching apps, files, and folders is a great trick for Mac users, particularly when you’re using a series of aliases for otherwise deeply buried items in the Finder file system.

But what if you made an alias of something and you now want to access the original item for whatever reason? The Mac offers a very fast way to find the source of the alias, allowing you to quickly show the original app, file, or folder that an alias is referencing.

How to Quickly Access & Show Original from an Alias in Mac OS

  1. Locate and select the alias in Mac OS that you want to find the original item for
  2. Go to the “File” menu with the alias selected, then choose “Show Original”
  3. File Show Original from alias on Mac

  4. The original item will be instantly revealed in the file system
  5. Original item found in Finder via alias

You also can select an alias and then hit Command + R to quickly jump the original item in the Finder as well, or you can right-click and choose “Show Original” from the contextual menu, use whichever method is fastest for you.

Finding original item from alias via right-click on Mac

If you want to test this out with an alias, just make a shortcut and try out the keystroke or File “Show Original” option, it’s instantaneous.

This is a nice trick for all Mac users who create aliases, but it’s extra helpful for showing deeply buried items, perhaps for accessing some of the various low level apps hidden within the System directories or anywhere else on the Mac.

By the way, some Mac OS apps have a variation of this trick as well. For example, the Photos app for Mac offers a “Show Original File” feature that lets you quickly jump to the origin documents.

Know any other handy alias tricks or variations of similar features? Let us know in the comments!

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