macos finder iconStationery Pad is a handy way to nix a step in your workflow if you regularly use document templates on your Mac. The long-standing Finder feature essentially tells a file's parent application to open a copy of it by default, ensuring that the original file remains unedited.

Stationery Pad doesn't get much attention these days, but it's a neat alternative to repeatedly editing templates and using the "Save As..." command, which can lead to overwriting the original file if you're not too careful.

Almost any file type can be defined as a template with Stationery Pad – it could be used to streamline common Photoshop jobs, create skeleton HTML/CSS files, or help with Word document invoicing. To make use of Stationery Pad, create the file you want to use as a template, then follow the steps below.

How to Define a File as a Template Using Stationery Pad

  1. Find the file in Finder that you want to use as a template.

  2. Right-click (or Ctrl-click) the file and select Get Info in the contextual dropdown menu. Alternatively, click the file to select it and use the Command+I keyboard shortcut to launch Get Info.
    How to Use Stationery Pad

  3. Tick the Stationery Pad checkbox under the General section.
    How to Use Stationery Pad 1

  4. Click the red traffic light button to close the Get Info window.

Next time you double-click the template file, Finder will create and open a copy of it, leaving the original untouched. To reverse the behavior, simply untick the Stationery Pad checkbox in the template file's Get Info window.

Top Rated Comments

Starfia Avatar
76 months ago
Whoa!!

I've been a programming-enthusiast Mac user since well before the dawn of OS X and I never truly noticed that check box. That was one truly rare high-value meeting of article and reader.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CreatorCode Avatar
76 months ago
Definitely before OS X.

Possibly before System 7, but definitely added in some 7.x version. One of the interesting long-standing Mac features.
The original concept is actually a relic of the Lisa. The original idea behind the Lisa was that users would create files by tearing off the appropriate type of Stationery (Word processing, spreadsheet, drawing) and then start editing it. None of this "launching apps" business like today.

The ability to designate any file as a Stationery Pad, though, was a System 7 feature, I'm pretty sure.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pupi Avatar
76 months ago
Cool tip, thanks. Mac is such a beast. I can’t even imagine how it would be by now if they kept developing the power-user side of it, instead of making it more and more like an iPad.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chucker23n1 Avatar
76 months ago
It's a something that's been there for ages (even before OS X if I remember correctly) but I guess it's a feature most aren't aware of – I don't ever use it myself, even tough it might be a good idea sometimes. :)
Definitely before OS X.

Possibly before System 7, but definitely added in some 7.x version. One of the interesting long-standing Mac features.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
76 months ago

4. Click the red traffic light button to close the Get Info window.
Is "red traffic light button" really what we're calling the close window button now?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lec0rsaire Avatar
76 months ago
I can honestly say I would’ve never known about this. I spent nearly my entire life with Windows and it’s fun to discover little things this OS can do.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Said iPhone Driver's Licenses Will Expand to These 8 U.S. States

Monday February 12, 2024 7:51 am PST by
In 2021, Apple introduced a feature that lets residents of participating U.S. states add their driver's license or ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. Unfortunately, states have been slow to adopt the feature since it was first announced in September 2021, with IDs in the Wallet app only available ...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

New Macs and iPads Coming Soon: What to Expect

Saturday February 17, 2024 3:00 am PST by
Following the launch of Apple's Vision Pro headset, attention has shifted towards what is next on the company's agenda this year. As usual, March should be eventful for Apple, as it is expected to release new MacBook Air, iPad Pro, and iPad Air models during the month. In a recent press release, Apple also confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March. Below, we recap what to expect...
iPhone 15 General Feature Black

iOS 17.3 Added New Feature That Every iPhone User Should Know About

Friday February 16, 2024 6:28 am PST by
Apple's recent iOS 17.3 software update includes an important new feature that all iPhone users should know about: Stolen Device Protection. The Wall Street Journal last year reported about thieves spying on an iPhone user's passcode before stealing the device, often in public places like bars. With knowledge of the passcode, the thief can then change the victim's Apple ID password, turn off ...
samsung galaxy ring

'Apple Ring' Allegedly in Development to Rival Samsung Galaxy Ring

Tuesday February 20, 2024 2:27 am PST by
Apple is speeding up development of a smart ring that can be worn on the finger to track users' health biometrics, claims a new report coming out of Korea. Teaser image of Samsung Galaxy Ring shown at Galaxy Unpacked in January Apple has toyed with the idea of a ring wearable for several years, as indicated by several patents, but with Samsung preparing to bring its own product to market, the ...