A frequent request we receive, both from Windows “switchers” and long-time Mac users, is for a way to cut and paste files as you can do with text and other content. Mac OS X’s Finder lets you copy and paste files, but a Cut option is notably missing. There are a number of OS X add-ons that provide such an option in the Finder’s contextual menus, including past Gems FileCutter and Move Items X. But a unique alternative is MoveAddict , which provides a systemwide menu, Finder-window toolbar buttons, and customizable keyboard shortcuts for cutting and pasting files—along with a few useful extras.
Once MoveAddict is running—you’ll see its systemwide menu icon in the menu bar—the Cut/Paste sequence works much as you’d expect: Select any file or folder in the Finder and then use MoveAddict’s Cut command (press Command+X or choose Cut from the MoveAddict menu); then switch to the desired location and use the Paste command (press Command+V or choose Paste from the MoveAddict menu). Your item is moved to the new location. If you try to cut an item that resides inside a read-only folder, MoveAddict smartly copies the item, instead, so you can still paste it elsewhere.
You can assign different keyboard shortcuts to these commands, if you prefer, and MoveAddict also provides buttons you can add to the toolbar of Finder windows for easier acces to the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands.
But MoveAddict also offers a few features that make it a bit safer to cut and paste files. First, when you use the Cut command, MoveAddict doesn’t immediately delete the item from its original location—the item remains untouched until you paste it elsewhere. If you forget to do so, the item simply remains as-is. In other words, unlike the standard Cut command, MoveAddict’s Cut feature is non-destructive.
Second, a small message appears on the screen to confirm that you’ve cut a file or folder, and a similar confirmation message appears—and a sound plays—when the item is successfully pasted.
Third, MoveAddict offers an option to apply a Finder-label color to a file or folder while it’s in the “Cut” stage, to remind you that you need to paste the item somewhere. (I chose gray as my label color.) Once you paste the item somewhere—or press Command+X again to cancel the cut—the label is removed. (There’s a related option that lets you choose whether to apply this temporary label to items that already have a Finder label.)
Finally, MoveAddict includes a nifty merge feature that may alone make the utility worth its paltry price. When cutting and pasting a folder, if the destination already contains a folder with the same name, MoveAddict displays a dialog asking if you want to Replace the existing folder, Merge the contents of the two folders, or do nothing. If you choose Merge, MoveAddict merges the contents of the moved and existing folders, keeping only a single copy of each file.
While this merge feature is quite useful, note that MoveAddict compares only the names of files—it does not examine each file’s contents, nor does it check to see which version of a file is newer. This means that if each folder contains an identically named file, MoveAddict will keep the file residing in the pasted folder—the existing file will be overwritten. So it’s possible to lose data if you’ve made changes to both files, or if two files with different contents have the same name.
MoveAddict also has a few other minor limitations. For example, you can’t paste the same file in multiple places using MoveAddict’s commands; you’ll need to use the Finder’s Copy command and then paste in those locations. And MoveAddict doesn’t add a Cut command to the Finder’s contextual menus—the place many Windows switchers will likely look for it. Nevertheless, MoveAddict is a clever solution to one of Mac OS X's little annoyances.
Updated 7/6/2010, 5:48pm: corrected details of the merge feature.
Want to stay up to date with the latest Gems? Sign up for the Mac Gems newsletter for a weekly e-mail summary of Gems reviews sent directly to your Inbox.