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Mac Tips: Organize Your Files and Folders

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 12/9/2009

There is a lot you can do in the Finder to manage your files. Here are some tips to help you out.

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    Organize Your Files With Folders

    One thing that drives me crazy is a messy Desktop (or a messy Documents folder for that matter). One way to stop a messy Desktop is to organize your files into folders and even sub folders.

    To make a new folder go to the "File" menu and choose "New Folder." You can also hold "Command+Shift+N" on your keyboard. Type a name for your folder and press return. Now you can drag and drop your files into that folder.

    Want more organization? Create subfolders inside that folder to better sort your files.

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    Labels

    Starting to get too many folders inside that one folder? One way to make folders stand out from eachother is with labels. Labels allows you to highlight the name of a folder with a particular color. To label a folder select the folder first. Next, go to the "File" menu and at the very bottom you will see "Label" with a bunch of color selections underneath it. Choose the color you want to use and the folder will be labeled. Labels are a great way to help find a frequently used folder surrounded by a bunch of folder.

    Another idea for finding a folder faster is to type the name in all caps. This won't change the color, but a name with all caps might make it easier to see.

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    Send it to the top of the list

    Here's another tip for quickly accessing a frequently used folder. First, your folder has to be arranged by name to make the folder alphabetical. To do this go to "View" and choose "Arrange By"..."Name."

    Once your files and folders are arranged by name you want to rename the file or folder you want easy access to. Rename by clicking the name of the item and pressing return to make the name editable. Now type a number "1" in front of the name. When you press return to lock in the name the name will go straight to the top. Numbers are arranged before letters, so any filename with a number in front will be first. Want a second file or folder with easy access? Use the number "2."

    You say you don't like the numbers? Well, put a space in front of the filename instead. That will send it straight to the top of the list without a number in the name. Two spaces will go above one space, three spaces above that, and so on.

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    One Final Tip

    One final way to make a folder or file stand out so it is easier to find- change the icon. Instead of the bland icons you might filling a folder change the icons to be more eye catching. I've outlined steps for changing icons in a previous article here: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/mac-platform/articles/7416.aspx.

    Hopefully, these tips will help you have a neater and more organized Desktop and Documents folder. Post your organization tips below.