Drag and drop to upload files in a browser


Drag and drop to upload files in a browser
Mac Tip #516, 14 December 2011

Need to upload files through your browser — for example, to add photos to Flickr. Did you know you can just drag and drop? This Tip explains how.

Quick Start

  1. Drag a file from the Finder on to the Choose File button on a web page.

Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFjH9oqAsFE

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Open a web page with a Choose File button

Sometimes you just need to upload one or more files through a web page. Usually the web page provides you with a Choose File button, like the one in the screenshot for uploading files to Flickr.

Choose files to upload to Flickr.

Choose files to upload to Flickr.

I’m just using Flickr as an example. There are many different services or contact forms that allow you to upload files in this way. While Flickr may offer special software to more easily upload photos, many other services do not.

If you click that button you then see a standard dialog box that lets you roam around your hard drive until you find the file you need. Then you select the file, click an OK button and start over for the next file you want to upload.

The Flickr page in my screenshot has 6 such buttons, so I could do that 6 times.

But there’s a much quicker and easier way.

Open the Finder windows that contain the files

In my screenshot you can see that I have a Finder window open. It contains numerous photos I want to upload to Flickr.

Drag and drop

Drag a file on to (or very close to) the Choose File button and drop it. The filename should show up beside the button. That means that the form has ‘accepted’ the file, ready for you to actually send it off.

The file shows up in the web browser after dragging and dropping it.

The file shows up in the web browser after dragging and dropping it.

Repeat this step for every file and every Choose File button you need.

Make any other selections or add other text to the form as relevant.

When you’re ready click the Submit button, which may be called something else, such as Send or Upload.

This Tip was written when I was using Lion and Safari version 5.1.2. I’ve used this trick for years so it should work with older web browsers and older versions of the Mac OS. It may not work with all browsers though.

Macs often use Drag and Drop, so be sure to try it out in your email or Twitter software and in other apps too.

What do you think? Did you try this Tip out?

Tell us in the comments how this Tip helped you.

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