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Organize your Mac’s Folders with Labels

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 2/5/2009

You can use labels to organize and manage your files and folders. Applying labels makes finding what you want easier and faster and gives you a way to color-code your important documents.

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    Getting Started

    Using labels is a colorful way to highlight a folder’s name for easy recognition. This will make finding your files faster and easier. I have the following labels on my Mac:

    · Blue--Data for books I’m working on

    · Green--Web sites I’ve created and work on regularly

    · Purple--Personal artwork I’ve created for me or my clients, and my Pictures folder

    · Red--Folders with data needing immediate attention

    Creating a color-coded system is easy. Just decide what colors you want to assign to what categories of folders or files, select the item or items, and then from the Actions menu, select the appropriate color from the Color Label choices. You can then sort your data by these labels. Here’s the play-by-play:

    1. Open the Finder and the folder that contains the data to color-code and select it with the mouse. The data can be a file or folder, or it can be multiple files or folders. (You might even open the Pictures folder and color-code your favorite pictures or the music folder and color-code your favorite music.)

    2. With the data selected, click the Action menu. (That’s the icon that looks like the little sprocket.)

    3. In the Color Label section, select a color. Notice as you hover your pointer over the color you see the name of the label. By default, it is the color’s name, but we’ll change that shortly. (You can also Control+click the item.)

    4. Click an empty area of the folder to deselect the files or folders and see the changes.

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    Change Label Names

    You can also change the label names to be something more descriptive than Red, Orange, or Yellow, for example. Changing the names to indicate what each color represents will help you apply the correct color the next time you apply a label color. To change the label’s names, follow these steps:

    1. Open the Finder to your Home folder.

    2. Choose Finder>Preferences>Labels.

    3. Click inside the label names boxes to change any name.

    For more information on how to organize the files and folders on your Mac, refer to the following articles:

    Apple Mail: Create Folders and Subfolders to Organize Email You Want to Keep

    Clean Up Your Mac: Organize Your Desktop Icons and Maintain your Desktop

    Improve Your Mac’s Performance – Get Rid of Unnecessary Files