A messy Mac desktop is distracting and hard to work with. Scratching your head and looking for a file from weeks or even months ago is no one’s idea of a good time. What’s worse is that you have too many files to know where to start at this point.
It doesn’t help that you’re making more thanks to work, a hobby, or casual use. By learning to manage your Mac files better, you can get yourself out of this mess while keeping your Mac tidy. Utilizing Mac folders and the tools available to you will help you organize your files with ease.
You’ll find a place for everything and learn to separate and keep future files neatly tucked away too. Improving the way you manage Mac files will improve workflow, stress levels, and peace of mind. Check out our guide on the top 9 tips to get started.
Every time you create or download a new file, it pops up somewhere on your computer. Sometimes they go into your downloads folder or straight into a directory in your Mac hard drive. Often, they end upright on your desktop, especially if you’re making them manually.
Folders let you manage your mac files by giving them all a place to live. If you go File, then New Folder, you’ll make an empty folder you can name. An easier way to create Mac folders is by hitting Shift+Cmd+N at the same time.
If you select multiple files and then control-click one of them, you can create a new folder with that selection. This automatically moves everything into the newly created folder.
Copy – Move
Once you’ve created your folders or found existing ones to use, you have to move your files. You can manually drag and drop them or use copy-paste. Pasting isn’t recommended since it creates duplicates which clutter your Mac storage.
The easy way is to cut or move your files. Select the files and copy them with Cmd+C or Edit-copy. Find where you want them to go, then use Cmd+Option+V to move the items there.
Smart Folders are a great way to automate the folder organization process. These allow you to choose what kinds of files should automatically go into these folders the second you create or download them. Start by going to the File menu in Finder, then hitting “New Smart Folder.”
Play around with the parameters in the prompt to pick what types of files should go there. Then save your choices, the name of the folder, and where you want it to be. You can make these Smart Folders as complex or simple as you need them to be, but they take a lot of the work out of keeping things tidy in the future.
Replacing the classic folder icon with an image or picture can help you know what’s in it at a glance. All you need is a picture you want to use saved to your clipboard. Navigate to the folder, control-click on its icon, and click “Get Info.”
From here, press the icon you see in that window and then paste the photo from your clipboard with Cmd+V or go to Edit – Paste. Now the folder will look like whatever picture you picked, and it even works on normal files.
Name and Rename
It’s good practice to name your files in an organized way so you can find them easier when you need them. You can take advantage of the ability to rename multiple files right in Finder. Select the files you want to rename, control-click, and hit rename.
You can use the box that opens to batch name multiple files. This is useful when cleaning up and organizing files from a large project with multiple versions. It also saves you the trouble of naming every file one by one.
It might surprise you to know you can up your mac storage game by color-coding your files. If you control-click on the icon and go to File, you can set color-coded tags. Selecting multiple files lets you set all their colors, making them easy to spot in a long list.
When using Finder later, you can type the tag color to bring up matches, giving you another layer of organization in your toolbox.
Hunt down Duplicates
While cleaning out and organizing your Mac files, look for duplicates. These can get left behind while moving files around and creating multiple saves. They lead to clutter, waste space and make you less organized overall.
Wherever you find duplicate copies or similar versions you don’t need, delete them. Keep the originals or final versions and put them in the right place. If you’re having a hard time finding all the duplicate files, then take a look at some of the best apps for that to help you.
Anything that reduces clutter will be on this list, so compressing unused files is a must. Everyone has files and folders they only use for special reasons and thus can’t delete them. Compressing them saves you space on your Mac hard drive and makes your Mac interface look tidier.
Compressing files is as easy as selecting all of the ones you want to compress, control-clicking them, and hitting compress. Make sure to rename the Zip file to something obvious, and then store it away when you need it.
Learn to Organize
This one is huge, as using all of the above steps won’t work if your Mac gets messy again. Take the time and create a proper filing structure that makes sense to you. Create multiple folders to separate work, play, family life, and bills/housing needs.
Don’t just throw everything into generic “Photo” or “Work” folders, as the list could get long and hard to sort out. Lean on color coding and batch renaming to make things easier for yourself, and trust Smart Folders to automate some of the processes. Consider moving some of your stuff to Mac Cloud storage to help, but don’t forget to stay organized there too.
Keeping Your Mac Files Organized Is Easy
When keeping your Mac files neat and organized, you need to remember one thing. You need to learn to organize to keep your Mac from getting cluttered again. Creating folders and using the organizational tools on your Mac will go a long way, but only if you take the time to try.
When it comes to these kinds of tips for your Mac and more, take a quick look at our site. We have plenty of info and advice to keep your Mac experience as smooth as possible.