Using Desktop Stacks In macOS Mojave

A new feature in macOS Mojave is the ability to temporarily group files on your Desktop into Stacks. These Stacks can contain files of a similar kind, or groups organized by date or tags. You can expand and collapse any Stack to see what is inside, and use the file icons inside the Stack like regular icons. Desktop Stacks can help if your Desktop gets messy and you need to find files right now, but don't have time to organize your Desktop files at the moment.

Comments: 22 Responses to “Using Desktop Stacks In macOS Mojave”

    Clay Sisk
    9 months ago

    You also can invoke Stacks on the Desktop with Right Click options.

    tim
    9 months ago

    when i turn on stacks my desktop icons don’t stack all they do is line up. i even made folders like you with the title of img but they just lined up.

    9 months ago

    tim: Maybe you don’t have any files that group together? Unless you have more than one image, for example, you won’t get a stack for it. Not sure what you mean by “made folder like you” as I’m not making folders.

    Dr. Julie Armstrong
    9 months ago

    I have heard that a messy desktop will slow down the file indexing/search functions. Does the use of stacks improve that if there are many files on the desktop or is it just a visual convenience? Thanks!

    9 months ago

    Julie: The Desktop is just another folder. It is really no different when it comes to indexing that any other folder, like your Documents folder or one you have in your Documents folder. It just has a second way to view it — as icons on the Desktop in addition to inside a Finder window. But that has nothing to do with indexing or searching. In fact, the “messiness” of any folders really doesn’t change that as indexes don’t care about that. So having a messy Desktop may be bad for you (I know it bothers me) and may make it harder to stay organized, but it doesn’t affect indexing or searching.

    Leah F
    9 months ago

    I’m using stacks grouped by kind and have a few PDFs in the PDF Documents stack. When I downloaded your Mojave keyboard shortcuts sheet (thanks so much for that!) directly to the desktop it created a new stack called ‘Other’ and placed the pdf in there! I couldn’t drag the pdf into the regular PDF Documents stack. Instead I used ⌘⌃0 to turn off stacks, then turned stacks on again and, voila, all the pdfs, including the shortcuts sheet, went into the PDF Documents stack. Odd, huh?

    9 months ago

    Leah: You definitely can’t “drag” anything into a stack. They are just formed automatically. It sounds like it just didn’t add the new PDF to the stack immediately and took some time (or off/on) to update. Did you download directly to the Desktop instead of downloading to the Downloads folder first and moving it? If so, then the download starts out as a partial download file (not a PDF) and then changes to a PDF when complete. So that may explain the anomaly.

    ROBERT PATRICK HARTLE
    9 months ago

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get it? For me Stacks is FUBAR and cannot believe no one has yet to mention the following. For decades we were taught and hounded against keeping anything other than the Hard Drive on our desktop because it was too easy to accidentally trash important files. Also Having many icons on the desktop would slow down your mac and require valuable system resources to keep them there. STUPID.

    ROBERT PATRICK HARTLE
    9 months ago

    Then in recent Mac OS Apple even hid the desktop by default, you had to manually change Finder Preferences in order to show the desktop! So now it’s okay to dump all your files on the desktop and use Stacks as some kind of eye candy card trick to group them all in piles? The only thing I was ever “allowed” by I.T. folks to keep on my desktop at work were aliases.So now we can just put our files anywhere and Stacks will make them easier to find?

    Patrick J Jeffas
    9 months ago

    I installed Mojave today but Stacks does not appear anywhere in View in Finder. I tried restarting, but still not there. Also, NOTHING AT ALL appears on my actual Desktop. Everything is there in the Finder, but nada on the actual Desktop. In related news, Pathfinder (love it) is struggling with Mojave and I’m forced to use Finder.

    9 months ago

    Robert: I agree with you that using the Desktop to store files is a bad idea. I avoid it and I teach others to as well. However, it definitely shouldn’t slow your Mac down. At least not with any modern Mac and modern OS. But I guess other people may think differently than us, and to them maybe Stacks is very useful. I’d actually like to see them add it to the Finder Icon View in regular Finder windows. It could have some interesting uses there.

    9 months ago

    Patrick: One thought is that maybe you don’t have the Desktop selected? If any other Finder window is selected, then that is where the Finder’s focus is. You’d need to click on the desktop to see this option. Also, if you have Pathfinder installed, maybe that is getting in the way? Or something else you have installed?

    Jim
    9 months ago

    I find stacks on the desktop to be useful for those temporary files that get dumped there on a day to day basis before I have time to clear them away. As Gary said though, I wouldn’t be ‘storing’ files there for an extended period. As for Pathfinder screwing up the Finder & misbehaving in Mojave, it has a lot to do with whether you have disabled the Finder in Pathfinder’s settings. Mojave doesn’t like that.

    Judi Short
    8 months ago

    When I turned on Stacks. every single file on my desktop disappeared and nothing is there except the few things I have saved to a folder “after 10/16/2018.” I use the desktop for things I’m actively using, then they move away. (Like photos I want to email, or a logo that goes into the footer on my gmail). When I turned stacks off, nothing returned. Where are my files? Finder doesn’t find them.

    8 months ago

    Judi: Stacks is just a way of viewing things. Turning it on or off doesn’t move anything. Did you look in a Finder window at your desktop folder in there to see the items as a list? If icons are hiding behind each other or behind windows, you would still see them in a list.

    Judi Short
    8 months ago

    There is one folder, the one I made the day this happened. 10/16 And the only thing in it are the two letters I have written since that time. All the rest of the photos etc have gone poof! I find them in the icloud archive that the apple lady on the help desk had me make before I updated to Mojave, but that was a day or two before I clicked the turn on stacks button. But that is not a very convenient place, and not easy to get to.

    8 months ago

    Judi: OK, how about in your Trash? If you accidentally selected the files and deleted them, they should be in the trash unless you emptied the trash.
    If not there, have you tried a search for them? It is possible that you accidentally grabbed them and dragged them somewhere else. A search for them should turn them up.
    Of course, you could always just use your Time Machine backup to grab all of the files from the Desktop from right before this happened too.

    Judi Short
    8 months ago

    TRash has very little in it. It has an icloud folder that is EMPTY. All my files went into three archive folders under my main directory and I suppose the desktop could be there, do they give the stacks folders a name that I could search?All my mac files and icloud files all went into these archive folders and I have to drag and drop all the folders to get my life back to normal. Grrr.

    8 months ago

    Judi: Remember, these desktop stacks are NOT folders. They are just a different way of viewing the same content that is on your desktop. It doesn’t move, rename, delete or organize anything. It just gives you a different view. Like if you were to switch between List and Icon view in a Finder window. Same content, different view.
    If your files went into “Archive” files then this had nothing to do with Stacks. It sounds like you had iCloud Desktop & Documents turned on, and then turned it off. When you do that, all of the files in your iCloud Desktop and Documents folders are placed into Archive folders instead of deleting them.

    Brian
    7 months ago

    When I turn on stacks and group by kind, every file goes under “other”, it does not matter what kind of file there are (pdf, screenshots, png, etc), I’ve tried restarting my MacBook Pro, force quit finder, modify files, copy them, duplicate, moving from other folders to desktop and nothing works, everything is under “other” which is not helpful.

    I don’t keep files on my desktop but organizing them by kind would be good as I could have organize them faster.

    7 months ago

    Brian: Try rebuilding the Spotlight index. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201716

    Brian
    7 months ago

    Hello Gary, didn’t work. I’ll stop trying to use stacks and will keep my desktop clean.

    Thanks anyway.

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