Are you spending way too much time trying to get something done? I’m talking about on your computer. If you don’t have the right tool—or you don’t know how to use it—you’re going to waste time. Time is your life. Don’t waste your life! I’ll focus more on that, next time, but for now, how about a hot Mac tip?
Keeping the “Desktop” on your computer clean and organized can be a challenge. Even for the most disciplined and organized of users, it’s still like the kitchen in your home. It accumulates stuff. Kitchen: Mail you don’t know what to do with, groceries you haven’t put away, dirty dishes. Computer: Files, folders, apps, stuff you haven’t decided if you want to keep or not.
I’m not going to tell you how to clear your whole Desktop, but I will tell you about one awesome, simple feature built into the Mac OS that every Mac user should know about. (Windows users, I can’t help you.) And this feature is so easy, so obvious, and so useful, to me it is a metaphor for the whole Macintosh experience. Check it out.
You’ve got files and folders all over your Desktop. It’s a mess. So sort it.
- Click on your Desktop
- In the Finder select View > Sort By > Name
- Everything on your Desktop is now sorted by Name. Not what you wanted? You’ve got other choices, try one of those, including: by Kind and by Tags.
Does that help? Now you’ve got a lot of organized junk on your Desktop. And that’s not my favorite tip. Go ahead and think about some of those files. Maybe you want to put all the photographs into one folder? Maybe you just want to put most of that stuff into a folder called “Organize Later” and get it out of sight. Either way, follow along…
- Select the files that you want to put in a folder. This is basic Mac stuff, you know how to:
- [Command]+[Click] to make multiple selections
- Use the mouse to drag a selection triangle over a group of files
- Or use [Command]+[A] to select All—everything on the Desktop—(but de-select any drive volumes, or this tip won’t work)
- Once you’ve made the selection, [Right]+[Click] with a mouse, or two-finger click with a trackpad…
- You should see a pop-up menu, with “New Folder with Selection (xx items)” at the top.
- Select that menu and, Walla! Watch everything you selected jump into a newly created folder on your Desktop called “New Folder with Items”. Without lifting your fingers from the keyboard, type a folder name and press [Return].
These are explicit instructions, but seriously, this is as simple as: Select files, [Right]+[Click], select menu, Name the folder. Oh! Did you make a mistake? Didn’t want that name? Didn’t want all those files in that folder? No big deal, in the Finder Edit menu, right at the top, you can UNDO.
To me, this is an elegant, mind-bogglingly simple function that does so much, and says so much about the Macintosh OS: Choice, flexibility, ease of use, speed, and downright utility! Not everything on a Mac makes this much sense, but if you explore, you’ll find there are many, many features like this to help simplify and automate your work. Because really, shouldn’t the computer be working for you?