Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Organizing items on the desktop, part of Mac OS X Mavericks Essential Training.
Earlier in this course, I warned you not to put too much stuff on your desktop. In this movie, I want to show you why that can be a bad thing. Then we'll start looking at some of the options you have to get things cleaned up. Now let's start by putting a bunch of files on the desktop. If you've got some files you can just drop on your desktop, great. If you need some files to play with, there are some files available in the downloadable Exercise files for this course. And if you download the Exercise files from lynda.com, they'll probably on your desktop, or here in your Downloads folder, so I'll go to my Downloads, click on Excercise files and go to Documents.
Now, of course, if you're just getting started learning the operating system, it might be valuable to come back to this movie after you've gone through the chapter on Finder, because we're going to talk a lot more about navigating and moving files around. But for now I'm go ahead and drop these files on the desktop and I'll show you how. I can select all of these files by clicking on the first file, holding the Shift key, clicking on the last file, and then I can just drag them all together and drop them on the desktop. And I'll go ahead and close this window. But now I think you can start to see the problem. These files are really messy.
Its going to be really hard to find anything here. They just kind of dropped wherever they landed. So let's start looking at some ways to get things a little bit more organized. First you'll notice, these are all still selected. They've got this blue highlight and this grey box around them. If I click on one file and move it, they're all moving together. You're going to want to deselect all of these files and the way to do that is to click anywhere on the empty desktop and now these files are no longer selected. If I click on one single file, it will be selected, and I can click and hold my mouse to move it around.
Click on another file, that one's selected. Click on another, that's selected. So I can move those around individually. Now you could start to get things organized that way but it's pretty tedious and the more files you have on your desktop, it can kind of become impossible. Now you can select more than one file at a time. You could click anywhere outside of these files on the empty desktop, hold the mouse button and drag, and you'll see it creates this box. This box is also known as a lasso. And, as you drag, anything that's inside of that box will be selected. So, when I let go.
Now, these three are selected and I can move those together over there. Again, click on the empty desktop and they are not selected. If you need to select files that you can't lasso together, you could select one, hold the Cmd key on your keyboard, select another, and another, and another, and now those are selected and will move together. Another thing you might do is if you drag a lasso across multiple files. Let's say I drag my lasso across everything here, but then I realize no, I don't want my hard drive included in this.
Well, after you've lassoed multiple files, then you can hold the Cmd key, and you can click on the ones that you don't want, and they'll be unselected. If you click on one of them again still holding the Cmd key, it will select it. Of course, if you let go of the Cmd key, then click on a file, only that one will be selected. So, you'll get used to these combinations. I'll click on the empty desktop to have nothing selected. So, now, let's look at how we can get these things cleaned up. And I want to go to something called the View Options. And if I go into the View menu, keep in mind, Finder must be the active application.
By going to the View menu there's this option here for Show View Options. Now, I'm not going to click on it yet. There's another way to get to it. You could also right click or secondary click somewhere on the empty desktop image, and the option for Show View Options is there as well. I'll open that up. And here we've got some controls for how the icons on your desktop appear. You can adjust the size with this slider. This is great if you have a hard time reading small text. But if you make them too big, then it's hard to fit a lot of icons on your desktop.
So, go ahead and choose whatever you prefer there. Grid spacing determines how close these files are allowed to be next to each other. So, that's a nice option there. Text size changes only the text label on these icons without changing the actual icon size. Go ahead and switch that back to something in the middle. You can chance the position of the text, in this case it's beside the icon. You can switch it back to below the icon. Show Item Info shows you a little bit of information about a file. For example, this is a document and it shows you how much space it takes on my hard drive.
But, this is a picture file, and it shows you how many pixels are in that picture, the pixel dimensions. This is a music file, and it shows me how long that music file is, two minutes 22 seconds. I'll turn that off. And then finally, an option that's on by default is Icon Preview. If I turn that off then you just get a generic icon that shows you the type of file it is. This is the icon for a document, this is the icon for a picture file, this is the icon for a sound file. But if I put Icon Preview back on, you'll get a little preview of what those actual files look like.
So those are some visual looks. Now we are going to get our icons sorted on the screen so they''re not quite so messy. So if you go to the View menu, you see some options. Clean-Up, Clean-Up By, and Sort By. You could also do that right click or secondary click on the empty desktop, and those options are here as well. Let me hit Clean Up, and what it does is it just kind of snaps those icons to a grid, so none of them are overlapping each other, and they're not quite so messy. Let's go back to View, and let's do Clean Up By.
We did Clean Up before. Now we do Clean Up By which has a bunch of options. I'm going to do Clean Up By Name. So now all of these icons are sorted by rows starting with the hard drive icon if you have that enabled. And they're sorted alphabetically by their name. This one begins with b, this one begins with c, etc. Alphabetically, column by column. Let's try another option, let's do Clean Up By Kind. And now these files are sorted by the types of files. This one is a picture file, a JPEG, it's all by itself.
But then we have two Excel files together. A PowerPoint file, and than all of these files are documents all sorted together. So it's a nice way of getting all files of a certain type together. We'll look at one last option and this is the one that I prefer, Date Created. That way the newest file you've dropped on your desktop is always right here underneath your hard drive icon, and then they sort in reverse order by when they were created. Now one thing to keep in mind about the Clean Up option, is that you can still grab your icons and you can decide to move them around.
You can manually place them wherever you want. But if I go back to View, Clean Up By Date Created, then they'll sort again into place. Now if you go back to the View menu we saw Clean Up By and then there's Sort By which looks really similar. In fact I'm going to go to Sort By and I'm going to to choose the same option we had before, Day Created. And at first it looks like nothing's happened. But check this out. I'm going to grab a file, and I'm going to move it to another spot on my desktop. I'll let go and it won't move. It's not allowing me to move.
That's because the Clean Up option is a one-time thing, and then you can change them round again. Sort by is a rule that's established that will force the files to be in those positions. And what's really interesting is you can't access the Clean Up options when you have them set to sort, because there's really no point. And if I right click here on the desktop, you'll see the Clean Up options aren't even there when Sort By is turned on. But if I go to Sort By and set it to none, then I can go back and then those Clean Up options come back.
So I can move my files around, and then I can say Clean Up By Date Created and they go back into place. So, now we are starting to get organized. What used to be a big mess of files on your desktop is now much easier to browse, but still after a few weeks of this, your entire desktop screen might be filled with files. So I hope you check out the chapter on Finder where we'll talk more about storing these files in useful, long term locations on your hard drive. But for now if you do have files on your desktop, at least you can get them cleaned up and organized.
- Installing and running Mavericks for the first time
- Connecting to the Internet
- Browsing through folders in the Finder
- Launching and managing applications
- Saving and searching for files
- Setting up iCloud and Apple ID accounts
- Browsing the web with Safari
- Using Mail, Calendar, and Contacts
- Messaging with iChat and Facetime
- Installing apps
- Sharing files and printer over a local network
- Backing up your Mac