Even die-hard Mac converts have their issues with Mac OS, and one of those problems is that OS X lists folders mixed in with all other files. Here’s how to fix that in under five minutes with a clever hack.
You know you’ve had that issue. You’ve dug through your files looking for that one elusive folder, and because it’s jumbled in with all the other stuff, it’s more or less impossible to find. Have no fear, with no downloads or silly plug-in software, you can finally make Mac OS behave like Windows and Linux and list those folders in the proper order.
Browsing in Finder.App Package
In order to perform this little hack, we’ll have to get to a preference list inside Finder’s contents. Navigate to your Hard Drive, then go to System > Library > CoreServices.
If you prefer, you can always bring up the “Go to Folder” menu (shortcut key: Shift+Command+G) and type:
Ctrl + Click (or Right-Click) on Finder or Finder.app and choose “Show Package Contents.”
You’ll be looking for the folder Contents > Resources > English.lproj. There’s a file inside it called InfoPlist.strings that has a lot of aliases for filetypes.
Note: Keep this window to this folder open, as you’ll need to find it again later in the how-to.
Locate this arcane filename and Ctrl+Click (or Right Click) and choose “Open With.”
Tell OS X to open it with TextEdit, or any other text editor you might have installed. If you have a programmer’s text editor, this would be a good opportunity to use it, but TextEdit will work out fine.
This is the string you’re looking for. Press Cmd + F to do a search, then paste in the text below:
“Folder” = “Folder” ;
This is the change you’re going to make—adding a blank space to the second instance of the word “Folder” so that it reads “ Folder” instead. You can also put a special character, like a ~ or a ! or even a number 1. But a blank space is the least obtrusive, and what we recommend at How-To Geek.
Click save as so we can save to the desktop. Finder will probably not let you save the file inside the package. (If it does, you’re done. If not, here’s how to get around it. You will need Administrator privileges, however.)
You may have to type the last part of the “InfoPlist.strings” file as TextEdit likes to truncate the extension. Make sure you uncheck the “If no extension is provided, use TXT” option. If you use a better text editor (one built for programming on a Mac) you won’t have this problem.
So you have your InfoPlist.strings file on your desktop.
You may want to make a duplicate copy of the old InfoPlist.strings file. Put it anywhere, but do not overwrite the file on your desktop. From there you can drag the new one from your desktop to the folder it lives in you opened several steps ago. Overwrite the old file inside the folder English.lproj inside Finder.App > Contents > Resources.
Mac OS will ask you to Authenticate because you’re making changes to the system. Click “Authenticate,” input your Administrator password, and the file will overwrite.
From there, find your Finder icon in your dock and press Ctrl + Option + Click and Relaunch finder. You can also reboot the computer, but this is much simpler and faster.
Listing Folders at the Top of Files
Open a new window and sort your files by “Kind.” Booyah! Folders are listed at the top, where you would expect them to be if you’ve ever used a computer before.
They’ll also appear on top if you use different view settings—you just have to go to View > Arrange By > Kind to sort them by Kind.
Note that if you sort by Name, Size, or Date, you’ll end up with the usual Mac OS sorting, with no preference given to folders over files.
Eric Z Goodnight is an Illustrator and Graphics Geek who hopes to make Photoshop more accessible to How-To Geek readers. When he’s not headbanging to heavy metal or geeking out over manga, he’s often off screen printing T-Shirts.
- Published 06/29/11