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How to press Enter to open files on macOS

If you’ve switched from Windows to macOS you will find all sorts of differences in how the OS works. Most of these differences you will get used to. If there’s an app that you miss on Apple’s desktop OS, you will be able to find alternatives for it. Coming from Windows means you’re likely in the habit of tapping the Enter key to open files or folders. On macOS, tapping a selected item will allow you to rename it. If you’d like to press Enter to open files on macOS, you need to install a little app called PresButan.

PresButan is free and works on macOS Catalina which is currently in beta.

Press Enter to open files

Download and install PresButan. You will be taken through a few set-up steps where you can select the changes the app will make.

The app will first ask if you want to use the Return key to open selected files and folders. It calls them icons but it means files/folders. It will ask you twice if you want to change what the Enter key does.

Next, it will ask you if you want to use the Delete key to move files to the Trash. This is another feature of the app and another difference between how Windows 10 and macOS works. The delete key doesn’t send selected files/folders to the Trash. Instead, you have to use the Command+Delete keyboard shortcut. If you’d like to just tap the Delete key and send a file or folder to the Trash, you can set PresButan to do that.

PresButan works great. If you need to change how it works later, you will have to quit and relaunch the app. That might prove somewhat difficult to do considering the app has no UI to speak of. To quit the app, open Activity Monitory. On the Memory tab, look for PresButan. Tap the P key and it will highlight apps and processes that start with P. Keep tapping it until you find the app and then click the quit button, the one with the x at the top left to quit the app.

Now you need to relaunch it and go through its set-up process again. To do that, hold down the Command key and then run the app. You can run it from the Launchpad or from the Applications folder, it makes no difference. The app will then take you through its set-up steps and you can change its behavior. It may be basic but it gets the job done.

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