A Guide to Managing Files & Folders on your Mac

A Guide to Managing Files & Folders on your Mac


Hello, Mac users. Do you desperately want to make your life easier and increase your productivity?


There’s no need to look hither and thither for answers. It’s all about how well you organize your Mac.

Surprised, right? Sometimes, the solutions are so simple that they may surprise you initially. But a cluttered Mac is one of the top reasons your productivity is adversely affected. For example, it may hinder you from finding essential files you need for your upcoming video conference, or you may never find some folders & files because you haven’t named them appropriately.

Of course, there are some files and folders you may never want people to see as they contain sensitive or confidential information. For those, you can simply hide folder on Mac. You can hide or unhide folders and files on your Mac by going to Finder and pressing Command + Shift + period (.) on your keyboard.

Now let’s focus on the exposed files and folders on your Mac that are in dire need of organization.

Manual Organization Of The Desktop

You know you must change how you use your Mac when the desktop is heavily cluttered. It is not only a nuisance to find files but also an eyesore.

Tidying up the desktop is always a good idea. To do it manually, you can do these things:

  1. Browse through the folders and examine the files on the desktop. Place them in logical places. For instance, pictures go in the Photos folder, and text documents in the Documents folder.
  2. Create new folders and put the files in relevant folders. For example, if you are handling two projects simultaneously, create two broad folders with the project names and then sub-folders to organize the files.

And the next time you download PDF documents or other files, place them neatly in folders.

Or Automate The Organizational Process

macOS Mojave introduced the Stacks feature, which is used to date to tidy up the desktop automatically. This feature stacks or groups all the loose desktop files.

To use Stacks, right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose Use Stacks. Automatically, the loose files will be grouped, and you can click on the groups to expand them and see what’s inside.

Use Tags To Group Items

The fastest and easiest way to manage folders and files on a Mac is by using Tags. Tagging items means putting in a list with other items sharing the same tag, despite them being in different locations. Use the in-built tags or customize.

To start using Tags, right-click on a folder or file and choose one of the tag colors. The tagged item will show a colored dot next to it. You can follow the same steps with other items.

Then, expanding the Tags list in Finder will show you all the items with the same color tag.

If you wish to create custom tags, you can right-click a file > choose Tags > type in a name and choose a color > press Enter.

Find And Remove Duplicates

Duplicate items are truly cluttered, and they need to go. But, on the other hand, you don’t need those items, and the longer they’re on your system, the faster you’ll run out of storage space.

Therefore, remove all the duplicate items on your Mac. Send them to the Trash, and then remember to empty the trash.

Use Smart Folders

So, you know about Tags (mentioned above). They’re pretty useful, but the drawback is it is time-consuming. You have to tag each item manually.

Sometimes, it is just better to have items grouped automatically. This is where Smart Folders come in. Although they act and look like Folders, they’re saved searches. They do not move files from their locations. Hence, you may have the same files in several Smart Folders.

These are some steps to follow to use Smart Folders:

  1. Open Finder > go to the menu bar > choose File > New Smart Folder
  2. Choose to limit your search to the current location, or you can open it to everything with This Mac
  3. Add a new search criterion by clicking the plus icon
  4. Choose things like Name, Kind, and Create Date using the drop-down menu
  5. If you want more options, choose Other
  6. When you are done adding search criteria, click Save and name your Smart Folder and select a location for it

Now, whenever a new file is created that fits your search criteria, the file will be automatically added to the Smart Folder.

The Bottom Line: Make Organization Your Habit

Imbibing the habit of organization is a good idea. It will keep your Mac uncluttered and bring balance to your life.

So, bid adieu to a cluttered Mac that makes your work-life chaotic. Instead, follow the above mentioned steps and neatly manage your files and folders. You will thank us later!