Mac: Organize Workspace

A brand-new installation of Mac OS X may appear to you as a blank slate waiting for the new owner to make the mark. If the user doesn’t do anything about it, folders, files, downloads, apps will end up cluttering the desktop and being dispersed throughout Finder.

How to Organize Workspace On Your Mac

To tell the truth, many users just drag all their folders and files they don’t need form the desktop to one folder, they call Junk, OldFiles, Old Desktop, Archive or something like this. People keep that folder hanging around until months later. Then the moment comes, when they drag it to Trash. There’s nothing wrong with this old method, as the unnecessary files are no untidier there… If you want to find them, you can do it quickly. But if you are hankering for a little more stucture, you should try out these tips:

How to Clean Up the Desktop

In Mac OS X, you can clean up the desktop by choosing View – Clean Up or by Ctrl+click on the desktop and choosing Clean Up. All the icons will be aligned in a grid format and will be much easier to see.

It is possible to set up the Mac to automatically clean up icons. They will thus line up neatly when you add or move them around the desktop: Right-click the desktop, choose View-show View Options. You’ll see the following options which enable you to keep the view tidy:

Icon Size: Large size icons help to find things on the desktop, they also keep the clutter on the desktop to a minimum.

Grid Spacing: The option of Grid Spacing increases the space between items on the desktop.

Arrange By : This option arranges icons on the desktop.The icons can be aligned to an invisible grid by the date and time an item was last saved, by the date it was created, by the size, by file type. Users can arrange icons bu any labels they’ve added to files. Automatically arranging icons on the desktop prevents the desktop from cluttering up. The grid structure enables users to find their items much faster.

How to Use Folders and Aliases

One of the ways to keep a desktop tidy is creating folders and then using aliases to bounce items to these folders. You can create a new folder for a new project, and keep all the folders in a folder called My Current Projects, in the Documents Folder. Then you can use aliases to these folders located in the Places area in a Finder window sidebar. You can also create aliases and keep them on the desktop. The alias will look like the regular folder, but it will display a small black arrow in the bottom-left corner.

To create an Alias in a Finder sidebar, drag a file or folder from the Finder to Places in the Sidebar. Then click on the alias to enter the folder. Then drag items to the alias in the Sidebar to move them to that folder in Finder.

To create an Alias on the desktop, locate a folder or item in the Finder. Hold down Ctrl+ᴂ. Now drag the item to the desktop.

Note that arranging items is the fastest way to find the things you are looking for. Instead of leaving a file on the desktop, you can drag it to one of the aliases, and it’ll be bounced to that folder. If you keep aliases on the desktop, they help you to quickly access folders. Besides, you can delete them with impunity. Just drag them to Trash and dragn them out of Places to delete them from the Sidebar.

How to Clean Out the Dock

While the Dock is a good tool for organizing your Mac, it’s far too easy to end up with a cluttered Dock. Many experts recommend to get rid of icons in the Dock for programs that people don’t user frequently or regularly (that’s programs that are not used at least of couple times a day. Anyting less frequent can be stored in the Applications folder.

How to Add Stacks

You can add folders to the right side of the Dock. You can expand these folders to reveal the contents by using Stacks. By default, Mac OS X includes 2 stacks : Applications and Downloads. Useers can take folders from Finder and add them to the Dock, where they will act as shortcuts (just like aliases). Stacks is a good way to access shortcuts, because you can click and navigate through them directly from the Dock. However you should create a stack for items you frequently use.

How to Use Dock Dividers

You can use Dock dividers to separate the items in the Dock, if there are too many of them. Using Dock dividers is a great way to arrange items in the Dock.

Many Mac users use the Dock all the time. If you like, you can install an app that has it own Dock for each open app, window and so on.

How to Label Files

You can label files and folders with different colors. The labels are used to assign status to files and folders. By choosing this method you can quickly recognize the files which will be highlighted by the labels. For example, you can assign a green color to a file you use daily and red for a folder you rarely use at all.

To label a file or a folder, Ctrl+click the file in Finder and choose one of the colored squares in the Label section. You can also choose the x icon under Label to remove a label.

You can also use tags. Unlike with labels, you can add short text description to files and folders using tags. You can then use these tags to search, group and browse different items. By using the Tags applications, it’s possible to add tags to mail messages, bookmarks, photos, etc. This personalization enables you to group items using tags.

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