10 Tips To Better Organize Your Files & Folders [Mac]

Bakari Chavanu 25-01-2012

Most of what we do in any computer is access, manage, and use files and folders. Having a handful of good tips for using files and folders on your Mac can help you get things done faster and more efficiently.


The following are a list of the favorite ways I work within the Finder. A few tips are borrowed from Keir Thomas’s Mac Kung Fu: Over 300 Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Hacks for OS X Lion.

Bookmark Files In Safari

Websites and pages are not the only items that can be bookmarked in Safari or other web browsers. You can bookmark files located in your Finder. You simply select a file and drag it to your browser. It will open and be linked to where you have it located in the Finder. You can actually make a folder of linked files that you might want to open up in Safari.

When you delete or move the file from its location, the link of course will be broken.

organize files on mac

Put Files & Folders In The Toolbar

You can drag files, folders, and applications to the toolbar of any Finder window so that it can be quickly accessed and opened. When you drag them, a little green button with a + sign in the middle will appear, which lets you know you can drop it in the toolbar.


organize files for mac

Folders In The Sidebar

Similarly, you can also drag any folder into the sidebar of any window for quick access.

organize files for mac

Quickly Rename Files

When you want to rename any file on the desktop or in the Finder, you can simply select it and hit the return key. The word, the existing name, such as “Untitled” will be selected, and you can start typing and rename the file.


organize files for mac

Files In A New Folder

In Mac OS X Lion, you can now quickly put files in a new folder, anywhere in the Finder, by first selecting them, then right- or Control-click, and selecting “New Folder with Selection.”

tips to organize files

Lock Files

If you have a file that you want to make sure never gets changed or deleted, simply lock it. To do this, select the file, and press Command+I. In the Info window click the Locked box.


tips to organize files

Delete Folders From Time Machine

If you use Time Machine, an OS X feature that maintains incremental backups of the contents of your hard drive, you can go into Time Machine and select to have backups of a selected file or folder deleted.

Simply right- or Control-click on the file or folder when inside Time Machine, and select “Delete All Backups…

tips to organize files


An Instant Link To Public Dropbox

If you’re a Dropbox user, you will know that you can drop a file in the Public folder of your account, right- or Control-click on it and have Dropbox create a URL link to that file. Pretty easy, but with a little application called Bloodrop you can set it up so that when you drop a file onto the application, it will automatically add the file to your Public Dropbox folder and  create a link which will be posted to your Mac’s clipboard.

Be sure to read the instructions about where to find your Dropbox user ID in order to set up Bloodrop.


Create A New Folder

You can create a new folder anywhere in the Finder–Desktop, open Window, File Open dialog box–by typing Shift+Command+ N.

ZIP Lock Files

Got a lot of files you need to email or post for download, such as in Dropbox? The best way to do so is to select them,  right- or Control-click, and select Compress…Items.

Compress files

This will create a Zip file that most computers should be able to decompress and open.

organize files on mac

For other ideas on files and folders, start with these articles:

Let us know what you think of these tips. Do you have any of your own to share?

Related topics: File Management, Organization Software.

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  1. Anonymous
    January 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Nice! The book you mention can be found here:

    • Aibek
      January 27, 2012 at 6:25 am

      thank you

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Keir, thanks for the link. I thought sure I had included it in the article when I wrote it. Great book. Very useful.