Top 7 Ways to Organize your files on Mac

Often we neglect how productive and efficient we are with a well organized Mac. There is no definitive way to organize files on Mac that works the best, rather than a collective of multiple methods that can be most effective. Here we will go through a few of the best managed files on Mac practices that we tried and tested to be more effective for you to test. 

From utilizing folders and tags to leveraging smart searches, these methods cater to diverse organizational preferences. Exploring these strategies ensures a clutter-free and efficient file management system on your Mac, transforming the way you access and organize your digital content.

7 Ways To Organize Files On Mac 

Method 1 : Clean up junk and duplicate files

Firstly, start by cleaning all the junk files out of your Mac like cache, logs, temporary etc. There is no point keeping unwanted junk files on your Mac and then organizing files on mac.

Then consider removing all the duplicate files and folders, again why would you consider organizing folders on Mac while knowingly duplicates are present. You can either manually identify each junk and duplicate files to remove them, or you can get an all-in-one third-party application to do it for you easily.

Method 2 : Use iCloud Drive 

If you use multiple Mac devices, then consider using iCloud Drive to Sync all your files across Apple devices to help you access them and then it will automatically help organize files and folders. 

1. Click on the Apple icon at the top menu, and Select ‘System Preferences’. 

System Preferences

2. Select Apple ID and then Click on ‘iCloud’ option. 

iCloud Drive

3. Here, Checkbox next to iCloud Drive and Click on ‘Options’ button to Select which folders and apps you want to Sync with iCloud. 

Method 3 : Clean Downloads Folder

You will be surprised to find how many unwanted files you have acquired over the time from the internet. Make it a point to regularly go through the Downloads folder looking for files you don’t want anymore and remove them permanently. 

Method 4 : Create Smart Folders 

From the latest iterations of macOS, the Smart folder is probably the most useful tool you can use to organize files efficiently. It is basically a reference folder, will not move your files anywhere and will help you locate the files you are looking for faster. 

1. Open the folder you want to search for files from Finder Window. 

2. Now Click on ‘File’ and Select ‘New Smart Folder’ option. 

3. Then Select ‘This Mac’ or the folder you are navigating. 

4. Click on ‘+’ icon at the right top corner next to Save button. 

New Smart Folder

5. Use the sorting criteria drop-down menu to select the options you want and to Search the file. 

sorting criteria

6. Finally, Click on the ‘Save’ button to create a Smart folder for next time you have to search files again. 

Method 5 : Merging Similar folders

When you drag-n-drop a folder into a new location with a similar folder name, a pop-up message displays two options either to replace the folder or stop the process. This process will overwrite all the files inside and lose uncommon files.

To overcome this issue, this time Press & Hold Option key and then drag-n-drop the folder into a new location. A new pop-up option will appear, Click on ‘Merge’ to Merge both the similar folders by keeping all the files intact. 

Method 6 : Favorite and Tag folders

All the favorite folders are readily available in the Finder sidebar for easy and quick access. To Favorite the most frequently visited folder, First find the folder on Finder window and then simply Click and Drag it to the left sidebar to add to Favorite. 

Another faster way to find files is through using native Tags. You can assign specific tags or color to your Files and help find them faster. Allocate Tags to your files or folders, by Right-Click or Press Control + Click on the file/folder and then Select preconfigured tags or create your own. 

Method 7 : Arrange files on Desktop

Mac provides an excellent feature called Stacks to help you arrange files on Desktop in an orderly manner to find files faster. On your desktop Click View > Use Stacks, by default all files will be grouped by kind. 

However, you can also choose to group them by Date Last Modified, Date Added, Date Modified, Date Created and Tags. To change, 

  1. Right-Click or Press Control + Click on Desktop 
  2. Select ‘Group Stacks By’ option 
  3. Select any option to arrange. 
  4. Now to view files, open or close Stack, simply Click on it. 

Frequently Asked Questions –

Q1. What is the best way to organize files on a Mac?

There are numerous ways to organize files on your Mac, and we have listed some of the best ways above for you to try it out. 

Q2. How do you rearrange files in a folder on a Mac?

You can do it in a couple of ways, either using Stacks to arrange files in the order you preferred or create a Smart folder for extra arragining options. 

Q3. Can I manually arrange files within folders Mac?

Yes, you can manually arrange files within folders on your Mac by simply opting out of the auto order option and drag-n-drop files manually to desired places. 

Q4. How do I put my files in alphabetical order?

To view your files in alphabetical order, Click on View > Show View Options, then Click on Sort By popup menu and Select sort order by Name. 


There are many various effective ways that you can implement on your Mac to organize your Files efficiently. We have listed a few of the best ones above that you can try and take advantage of.

Keeping files organized and desktop tidy would immediately reflect on your productivity and workflow. Thus consider implementing above shown files organizing on your Mac for better results. 

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