Default Folder X FAQ

Here are some questions and problems that people often encounter when using Default Folder X.

Before consulting this list, please check to make sure you are running the latest version, which is Default Folder X 5.6. If you need an update, you can get version 5.6 using the Download button above. If you have a problem that is not addressed here or feel a question should be here but isn't, please send mail to

General Questions

Default Folder X Compatibility


General Questions

Default Folder X is asking for permission to record my screen. Why?

Default Folder X needs screen recording permission because, in some circumstances, it needs to actually select something from a menu in a file dialog in order to perform an action. To hide the menu when it pops up on the screen, Default Folder X takes a screenshot of the file dialog and displays that in front of the dialog for a fraction of a second. This hides the activity of operating the menu behind a temporary "fa├žade".

This is something that Default Folder X has always done - it's not something new. It's just that Catalina requires that we get your permission now. The screenshot is only stored in RAM, never saved to a file, and is destroyed immediately after it is used.

If you want to see this in action, approve Screen Recording so Default Folder X will launch, then immediately go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Screen Recording and turn it back off. Then bring up an Open dialog in any application (choose File > Open in Safari, for example), navigate to your Downloads folder, and then use the New Folder command to create a new folder. When you click OK to create the folder, watch the file dialog. It'll briefly turn yellow - that's where the screenshot would normally be used, but since you've turned off screen recording, Default Folder X just puts up a yellow window instead.

Default Folder X 5.x is telling me I need to upgrade. What's going on?

If you purchased an older version of Default Folder X before June 1, 2015, there is an upgrade fee of $14.95 (US) for version 5.x. If you are a registered user of a previous version, enter your serial number in the General tab of your Default Folder X 5 preferences and it will check and let you know if you need to upgrade. If you no longer have your serial number, please use our serial number request form to have us look it up for you.

If Default Folder X tells you that you need to upgrade, go to and make your purchase. You'll need to enter the name, email address or serial number from your old license to verify your eligibility for the upgrade.

I updated Default Folder X and it now has labels under its toolbar icons. How do I turn them off?

Just Control-click above the "D" icon in the toolbar and choose "Icon Only" from the menu that pops up.

I have two computers. How many licenses do I need to buy?

Our licenses are "single-user", so you need one per user, not one per computer. You're welcome to use your license on multiple machines as long as you're the sole user of the machines. As long as that's the case, all you need to do is download the latest version of Default Folder X, install it on both computers and enter your serial number in both places.

What applications does Default Folder X support?

Default Folder X enhances the Open and Save dialogs in all Carbon and Cocoa applications, so it should appear in all macOS-native applications. It cannot enhance non-native Java applications, however, if they do not use the standard macOS file dialogs.

Can I rename folders in Default Folder X's Favorites menu?

Yes. Just open your Default Folder X preferences, click on the Folders tab, click on Favorites, and then Control-click (or right-click if you have a multi-button mouse) on the Favorite folder you want to rename.

How do I change the order of my Favorites?

Open your Default Folder X preferences, click on the Folders tab, click on Favorites, and then drag the Favorite folders up and down in the list to change their order. You can also use the utility menu in the lower right corner of the Favorites list to sort them alphabetically or by shortcut.

How do I make Default Folder X display hidden files and folders?

With a file dialog open, hit Command-Shift-. (the period key) on your keyboard to show hidden files and folders. Note that this isn't actually a feature of Default Folder X, but is a standard part of the macOS Open and Save dialogs.

How do I add Default Folder X's buttons to Path Finder's toolbar?

This used to require an inconvenient series of special steps, but as of version 5.5.7, Default Folder X fully supports adding its buttons to Path Finder's toolbar. Just turn on the checkboxes in the General tab of your Default Folder X preferences to add the buttons to the Finder's toolbar and they'll also be added to Path Finder's.

How do I make Default Folder X open folders in Path Finder instead of the Finder?

You can set Path Finder to be the system's default file browser by turning on that option in your Path Finder preferences (see below). That'll result in all apps, including Default Folder X, using Path Finder for their "open in Finder" and "reveal in Finder" features.

If you'd prefer that only Default Folder X use Path Finder, you can set this manually using a Terminal command. Just run the Terminal application (it's in /Applications/Utilities) and paste in this command, then hit the Return key on your keyboard:

defaults write com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5 fileViewer com.cocoatech.PathFinder

Note that if you're running the Setapp version of Path Finder, you need to use "com.cocoatech.PathFinder-setapp" as the last part of that command.

How can I back up my Default Folder X settings or copy them to a new Mac?

Default Folder X keeps its settings in its preference file at:


and in the folder located here:

~/Library/Application Support/com.stclairsoft.DefaultFolderX5/

HINT: You can go directly to these locations in the Finder by selecting "Go to Folder" from the "Go" menu (or by hitting Command-Shift-G on your keyboard) and then entering the file paths given above.

How do I uninstall Default Folder X?

Version 4.x:

Run the Default Folder X 4 installer and click on the Uninstall button. If you no longer have the installer, you can download it here

Alternately, you can just remove these files (HOME refers to your home folder):

HOME/Library/PreferencePanes/Default Folder X.prefPane
/Library/PreferencePanes/Default Folder X.prefPane
/Library/ScriptingAdditions/Default Folder X Addition.osax

Version 5.x:

Just quit the Default Folder X application and move it to the Trash.

Default Folder X Compatibility

Does Default Folder X run natively on M1 Macs?

Yes, Default Folder X version 5.5 or higher is a universal app, running natively on both Intel and M1 powered Macs.

Is Default Folder X compatible with Monterey (macOS 12)?

Default Folder X 5.6 or higher is compatible with macOS 12 Monterey. If you're running an earlier version of Default Folder X, please update to the latest version by choosing "Check for Updates" from Default Folder X's menu in your menu bar, or by clicking the "Download" button above.

Does Default Folder X work with El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur or Monterey (macOS 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, 10.15 , 11 or 12)?

Version 5 of Default Folder X is compatible with El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur and Monterey. Version 4 is not, unless you turn off System Integrity Protection (which we don't recommend).

I turned off System Integrity Protection to get Default Folder X 4 to work. Now that I've upgraded to Default Folder X 5, how do I turn System Integrity Protection back on?

To turn on System Integrity Protection, do the following:

  1. Boot into the recovery partition by holding down Command-R while restarting
  2. Choose Terminal from the Utilities menu in the menubar
  3. In the Terminal window, type the command "csrutil enable" and hit the Return key
  4. Restart your Mac

What version of Default Folder X do I need?

For macOS 12 (Monterey), 11 (Big Sur), 10.15 (Catalina), 10.14 (Mojave), 10.13 (High Sierra), 10.12 (Sierra) and 10.11 (El Capitan), use Default Folder X 5.6.

For macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) , 10.7 (Lion), 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), and 10.10 (Yosemite), use Default Folder X 4.7.4.

If you are still using Mac OS 10.5, have a PowerPC Mac or run PowerPC applications in Mac OS 10.6 using Rosetta, you'll need to download Default Folder X 4.5.12.

If you've got a really, really old Mac, you can still download Default Folder X 4.3.10 to run on Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger).

Note that we no longer officially support versions 4.5.12 and 4.3.10, but they work just fine on older versions of macOS.

Are there any applications that are incompatible with Default Folder X?

Not that we're aware of. If you run into any sort of trouble, please contact us through the Support Page.


Default Folder X keeps adding items to its Recent Folders and Recent Files menus that I haven't opened.

By default, Default Folder X automatically watches any cloud-synced folders (like iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and Box) and adds new items that appear there to its "recent" lists. This works great for people that are modifying their own files on multiple machines, but if you share a cloud-synced folder to collaborate with friends or coworkers, you'll end up with all of their changes populating your Recent Folders and Recent Files menus.

To disable this feature, go to Default Folder X > Preferences > Menus and turn off the "Include items synced by cloud services" checkbox.

I just upgraded Default Folder X and the Finder-click feature seems to have stopped working.

Starting in version 5.3.7, Default Folder X's Finder-click feature no longer shows windows that aren't actually visible on-screen. So if the Finder is hidden or if the windows you're looking for are in other desktop spaces, they'll appear in Default Folder X's Finder Windows menu, but won't automatically highlight as you move the mouse around on the screen.

If you'd like to revert to the old behavior where all windows were shown even when they were in other Spaces or the Finder was hidden, do the following: Hold down the Option key and choose Preferences from Default Folder X's menu in your menubar. In the "Additional Settings" sheet that appears, turn on "Finder-click shows windows from all Spaces", then click OK.

Default Folder X keeps telling me it needs authorization to allow Accessibility, but I've already turned on the checkbox in System Preferences.

We're unfortunately seeing this problem with increasing frequency. It happens when the system's privacy database gets corrupted. To fix the problem, you need to reset the Accessibility portion of the database. To do that, follow these steps:

  • Run the Terminal application (it's in /Applications/Utilities)
  • Paste in this command, then hit the Return key on your keyboard:
    sudo tccutil reset Accessibility
    You'll be prompted for your administrator password in order to run the command. Type that in (there will be no indication that your input is going in - just keep typing), then hit Return again.
  • Once the command completes successfully, immediately restart your Mac.

Default Folder X's controls have stopped appearing in Open and Save dialogs. What's wrong?

We've seen problems in Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office 365 apps immediately after they've been updated by their respective auto-update mechanisms. It appears that the updaters relaunch the apps in such a way that macOS doesn't send a "this application just launched" notification to Default Folder X. That prevents DFX from seeing the file dialogs when they appear.

To fix this, just quit and relaunch the application in which you're not seeing Default Folder X's controls.

When an Open or Save dialog appears, my entire screen turns gray. How do I stop this?

What you're seeing is part of Default Folder X's "Finder-click" feature.

Whenever you move the mouse over a Finder window, Default Folder X draws a gray shadow over the window. This shows you that clicking on the window will switch to that folder in the file dialog.

There's an option in your Default Folder X preferences called "Choose the Desktop when you click on it." This makes Default Folder X treat the entire screen as a window showing the Desktop, so it grays out the entire screen to show you that clicking there will do something. Turning off this option will stop the screen from turning gray. Alternately, you can turn off "Highlight Finder windows when you mouse over them" if you prefer to keep the behavior but don't want the visual effect.

Default Folder X won't let me click on some Finder windows. Why?

Default Folder X's Finder-click feature doesn't support Smart Folders (including All My Files) or search results. These windows don't have a "location" - the files listed there are in various folders and are just listed together as the result of a search. So when you click on that window, there's nowhere for Default Folder X to "go," and it doesn't have a way to replicate the whole search in a file dialog window. So it doesn't show those windows as being "clickable" because there's nothing it can logically do with them.

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For macOS 10.10 - 12 

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For macOS 10.6 - 10.10 

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Reviews and Comments
As a long-term Mac user, i have installed demo software beyond count. Yours is one of the few that I've seen the worth in investing in.
- Daniel Kennish
It's one of those programs that I wonder how I lived without for so long. Before I was constantly clicking through directories every time I wanted to open, save or attach a file. Now I do almost everything in just a few clicks.
- Ethan Annis
System Requirements
macOS 10.10 through 12
Runs natively on Intel & Apple Silicon

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