2 thoughts on “Hidden options for managing files and folders in list views

  1. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    Topher, I think you missed an opportunity here to distinguish between Sort by and Arrange by – they are not the same thing, though you use them both in the article without distinction. Arrange by was introduced in Lion without fanfare (or explanation) and was a source of considerable confusion at the time.

    Sort by is the standard Finder window layout option which provides the available categories in Show View Options under the View menu in the Finder; it hasn’t changed much since the classic Mac OS, except to add additional date criteria.

    Arrange by can be more useful but is also more complex. As you indicated without really explaining it, when you use Arrange by, which is available under the View menu as well as the Arrange by pull-down menu icon in the Finder window toolbar, your files and folders are arranged by whatever criterion you select. The advantage of Arrange by is, as you also wrote, that you can sort within the arranged categories for a more granular search.

    Arrange by has improved since Lion. In Lion there were only a few categories by which you could refine your sort. Now Arrange by has the same categories as Sort by so the difference between the two is less dramatic and, in my opinion, less confusing. Both methods of ordering files and folders have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you use them. Unlike Sort by, Arrange by uses dividers to separate categories and names the category in the divider. If I took the time to get used to Arrange by, I would probably appreciate it more.

  2. msadesign

    “If I took the time to get used to Arrange by, I would probably appreciate it more.”

    A true Mac- user! I’ve said the same thing to myself countless times, or more often to my wife: “Just watch the video and you will save more time than you are consuming by hunting around”. Does it work? Nope.


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