Categorized | Quick Tips

The Lesser Known Drag and Drop Trick

I’m one of those kinds of people that use a terminal or command prompt quite often. I find that I can get some things done more quickly with terminal tools that by opening an application.

Take for example ftp. Yes, I can open Cyberduck or FileZilla and do a transfer, but sometimes it is just quicker to open up your trusty terminal.

With that said, let look at how we can drag and drop files from our desktop or a folder view as a way to save us some typing.

Let’s say I have a file on my desktop that is called “myfile.txt”. This is the file I want to ftp to First thing I do is open up a “Terminal” window on the Mac, or a “Command Prompt” on the PC.


Lets assume I have already logged in and am at the ftp> prompt. I can type:

put “C:\Documents and Settings\<myusername>\Desktop\myfile.txt”

Now that is a lot of typing with backslashes and quotations…. whew….

or I simply type:


then drag "myfile.txt from the desktop to the "Terminal" or "Command Prompt" window.

If you do the drag and drop, you will see the "Terminal/Command Prompt" window has interpreted the file you dragged.  It has expanded the filename to also include the path. That’s much easier than typing that whole line and hitting enter only to find out you made a mistake and have to type it all over again.

This will work anywhere you can drag a file. Try it on a file in your “My Document” (PC) folder or from your “Home Folder” (Mac). It doesn’t matter how deep the folder structure goes either. It can be on the Desktop, or 10 folders below it. As long as you can get to it to drag it, you can use the trick.

Watch the short 30 second video of this working on a Mac.

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One Response to “The Lesser Known Drag and Drop Trick”


  1. Lesser Know Drag and Drop Trick…

    The lesser known drag and drop tool for those of us that sometimes use a terminal or command prompt window….

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