MacMost Now 588: Arranging Files in Lion

Learn how to use the new Arrange By feature of the Finder in Lion. In addition to sorting your files, you can also group them by kind, size and other attributes. But using Arrange By can conflict with how you want to sort files in list view.

Comments: 19 Responses to “MacMost Now 588: Arranging Files in Lion”

    Jerry
    8 years ago

    Thanks for the useful tips, Gary. If they only had tabs it would be just about perfect. ;-)

    Russ
    8 years ago

    How do you sort files in ascending or descending?

      8 years ago

      You turn off Arrange By (set to None) and then go into List view. Then just click on the column headings. Click again to reverse the sort order.

    Simon
    8 years ago

    Thank you, I am now able to use the Finder more effectively.

    Jason Powers
    8 years ago

    I have a question on the finder. I have it set up to arrange by kind then by name. It shows the Folders first (which I want) but it only gives you so many folders and then it will look like cover flow unless you click on “Show All” on the right hand side of the finder. I am looking for a way so that it automatically “shows all” for each group, (Folders, Images, PDF Documents, Spreadsheets, ect.) do you know how I can do that?

      8 years ago

      So are you viewing them as icons? Try viewing them in list mode. Then it doesn’t seem to use cover flow. But if you want to use icon view AND “Arrange By” it seems you are stuck with over flow.

    KP
    8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! I like your T-shirt today!

    Dale
    8 years ago

    Seriously? Fantastic segment. 5 minute video that will shave hours off my work week. It is amusing how we will live with how software behaves and frustrates us without ever realizing its potential. I would have discovered this eventually… maybe in OS XI

    Great job… Thanks

    David
    8 years ago

    Great tips. My current frustration is that my files keep getting automatically resorted. Granted I’m a freak, but I like to arrange all my files my own way, not in alphabetical order or kind or size. I have “arrange by none” as the default, as is “view as icons” and “clean up by” as “snap to grid.” But both in my documents folder itself, as well as subfolders, they keep getting rearranged to alphabetical order with no such command from me. I have checked all the settings I know, then manually drag and arrange my files the order I want, only to have to do it all over again for no apparent reason (haven’t even logged out, changed any settings, etc.) Any tips for me? Probably just missing something simple…

      8 years ago

      Not sure what could be wrong. Do they get rearranged as soon as you close the window and open it again?

        David
        8 years ago

        It varies, but yes, sometimes it’s instant. I have other subfolders, however, that hold my manual arrangement. The documents folder, however, rearranges alphabetically every time. It seems pretty random to me.

    David
    8 years ago

    So I just found what I think is the culprit. It’s Pages. Every time I go to save a file and have to navigate to a specific folder, it rearranges all my files alphabetically in the save window. When i return to Finder, they all stay rearranged alphabetical. Any chance I can get confirmation on that or a way to fix it? It’s the only thing I have found that consistently repeats the rearrangement as I’ve described, and it does it every time.

      8 years ago

      I created a folder, put a bunch of files in it. Then set it to Icon view, sort by “snap to grid”, arrange by none. I moved them around. Then I opened Pages and created a new document. I saved it to that folder. The new file fit nicely in the next available spot, it didn’t re-arrange the files.

    David
    8 years ago

    I dunno. I just reset the PRAM and now it looks like it’s stopped doing it. Thanks for the great tips, now back to productivity as usual…

    Catherine
    8 years ago

    I could not figure out how to arrange A-Z.

    You explained this clearly– when the default Arrange By is set to NONE, you have control over listing/ordering. The way it is currently set up, it is NOT intuitive as to how to do this. Thank you for clarifying this.

    Hermann
    8 years ago

    Thanks Gary, found your explanation very helpful. Must say I prefer the column view over list view. Just seems easier to work with columns. Perhaps Apple will make this change in Mountain Lion. Thanks again.

    Craig
    8 years ago

    Dammit Apple…quit changing things for the sake of changing things. We’d all learned how to make Finder do what we wanted it to do…then you change it. Knock that crap off, ok?

    Jack
    7 years ago

    Thanks for putting these videos out there Gary. I came across them while trying to help someone looking to sort within their Finder window arrangements. A few times you mention that you can’t sort within an arrangement, when actually you can; it’s just deviously hidden as an option. Open a Finder window and then select the View menu; press the Option key and you’ll see that “Arrange by” changes to “Sort by” (with a default of “Date Last Opened”). The “Sort by” option is also available when you open a Finder window and then show the View Options palette (View menu or command-J). In general I recommend looking at menus and pressing the Option key to see what commands are hidden in them.

    Douglas Kramer
    7 years ago

    You *can* change the sort order to forward or reverse order using Arrange By — that is, setting ascending or descending order:

    1) In List View with Arrange By > None, click on a column heading to get the order you want (latest modified first, latest modified last, A-Z, Z-A, or any other order). (I prefer latest first.)

    2) Then choose Arrange By > Kind, for instance, to separates folders from documents, and they will be in the ascending or descending order you chose in step 1.

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