How to Organize Files and Folders on Mac - 7 Easy Ways

Clare Phang
Last updated: Jul 12, 2023
Summary: This post will provide you with a full guide to cleaning up your Mac desktop by organizing files and folders. Dig out more useful information below!

Finding a specific file and folder from a chaotic Mac desktop is a headache. What you find may not be your intended files or folders, but your “annoying mood” and “depressing heart“.

What matters most is that if you need a specific file in a hurry, it's difficult to find it immediately. So it's of great importance to organize files and folders on Mac. To save your time and effort, learn some easy and quick ways to tidy up your Mac in this post. Keep reading!

Organize Files and Folders on Mac

Before Organizing Files and Folders on Mac

Files and folders organizing is time-consuming and effort-costing. To reduce the workload, start by finding and deleting duplicate files and photos on your Mac first. Of course, if there aren't any duplicates on your Mac, just skip to the detailed methods to organize files and folders.

In general, there are 3 ways to find and delete duplicate files and photos. The most convenient way is to use duplicate files and photos finder and remover. BuhoCleaner is one of the most powerful and professional duplicate finders. It helps you find and delete duplicates and similar photos quickly and effectively. Try it to free your hands and save time.

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
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Find and Delete Duplicate Files on Mac with BuhoCleaner

Here is how to use BuhoCleaner to find and delete duplicates:

  1. Free download, install, and launch BuhoCleaner.
  2. Click Duplicates>+ button>Home Folder/PhotosLibrary or Choose Custom Folder.
  3. Wait for the scanning process to be completed.
  4. Check the duplicates and similar photos you don't need and click Remove.

How to Organize Files and Folders on Mac

After you delete the unnecessary duplicates and similar photos, it will be easier to organize files and folders on your Mac. In total, there are 7 ways for you to do this work. And you can choose your favorite one or more to follow.

1. Enable Use Stacks

Enable Use Stacks

Many Mac users may wonder if there is a way to automatically organize folders on Mac. Luckily, the answer is yes. The easiest and most convenient yet quick solution to organizing a Mac/MacBook desktop is to enable the "Use Stacks" feature. This feature makes tidying up your Mac desktop in one click achievable. It will make your chaotic files and folders concentrate on the right of your Mac.

Organize Files Using Use Stacks

The "Use Stacks" feature is fully customizable. It offers you to group stacks by Kind, Shared By, Date Last Opened, Date Added, Tags, etc. Choose one for your preference.

2. Create New Folder

Create New Folder with Selection

With time, the folders may mountain up on your desktop. Merging folders is a good way to organize your folders on Mac. Merging files and photos folders under the same theme or the similar theme makes it convenient to find the files and photos in the future. Also, this greatly saves your desktop space.

And here is how to organize folders on Mac:

  1. Select and click one folder/file/photo you want to merge.
  2. Hold the Command key and continue to select the left folders/files/photos you want to merge.
  3. Right-click>New Folder with Selection (x Items).
Create New Folder with Selection

Create New Empty Folders

In the case that you have multiple files, photos, videos, music, folders, etc. on your Mac desktop, you'd better group them into different folders. Just create new folders and group the items on your Mac desktop into different folders and name them for your preference.

For example, you can create a folder named "Photos" and move all photos on your Mac desktop to this "Photos" folder.

3. Use Tags

Another way to organize files and folders on your Mac is to use tags. Group files and folders using different tags. You can directly use the macOS built-in tag colors. Or you can customize your own tags with specific names.

  • To add macOS built-in tags:

Right-click the file/folder/photo>choose one tag color you prefer.

  • To customize tags:
  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click Finder MenuSettingsTags>+>Customize the tag name>right-click and choose the tag color.
    Customize Tags
  1. To delete the customized tag: right-click>Delete Tag “xxx”.
  2. To make the customized tag for quick use in Finder menus: drag it to the area below.

4. Customize View Menu

The View options are fully customizable. To make your files and folders in order and tidy, you can choose different label positions: Bottom or Right. Check Show item info to see how many items you have under each folder. Icon size, grid spacing, text size, etc are all changeable. Just change them to the way you like and easy to find.

Customize View Menu

5. Use iCloud Drive

Using iCloud Drive to organize files and folders on Mac is very convenient, as this feature will keep the organizational structure and can sync documents folders on your Mac with another Mac device or iPad, etc. With this feature on, you don't have to waste time tidying up your other Mac, iPad, etc. desktop.

And here is how to enable iCloud Drive:

Open System SettingsApple ID>Enable iCloud Drive>Enable Sync this Mac>Enable Desktop & Documents Folders.

Turn On iCloud Drive

Related Article: How to Back Up Your Mac to iCloud Drive

6. Use Smart Folders

Smart folders provide you with an easy way to find the files or store the files under specific criteria. To organize your files or folders, you can create new smart folders. Here is how to create new smart folders:

Open FinderFile MenuNew Smart Folder>+>Choose one criteria>Save>Enter the name>Check Add To Sidebar.

7. Favorite Your Folders

To quickly find your important files, moving these important and often-used folders to Favorites is a good choice. Each time you need to use these files, open Finder and find it in the left sidebar.

And here is how to add folders/files to Favorites:

Open Finder>Drag the files/folders to the left sidebar under Favorites.

Useful Tips for Better Organizing Files and Folders on Mac

  • Name files/folders in a specific rule.
  • Delete duplicates regularly.
  • Arrange your files/folders in chronological order.
  • Lock the important files.
  • Put the date/theme at the first of the file name.
  • Divide the file types into different types like work, study, life/to do, doing, done, etc.

The Bottom Line

In this post, how to organize files on Mac is answered with 7 easy and quick ways. In addition, 6 useful tips for better organizing files and folders on Mac are prepared for you. Go tidy up your Mac/MacBook desktop now!

Clare Phang has been captivated by the world of Apple products since the launch of the iconic iPhone in 2007. With a wealth of experience, Clare is your go-to source for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and all things Apple.