How-To Geek

How to Sort Your Mac’s Folders on Top of Files (Windows-Style)

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Switch to a new operating system and there are all sorts of little difference to get used to. The way macOS sorts folders and files is one of those things for migrating Windows users.

Both operating systems sort files alphabetically, with one key difference: Windows puts folders at the top of the list, then shows files, while macOS mixes files and folders together in alphabetical order. Until recently, the only way to change this involved turning off System Idenentity Protection and modifying the Finder.

No longer. Among the many new features in macOS Sierra is a humble checkbox in the Finder preferences that, when clicked, separates folders from files, just like it works in Windows and Linux systems.

To get started, launch the Finder. Next, head to Finder > Preferences in the menu bar.

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This will bring up the options. Make sure that “Keep folders on top when sorting by name” is checked.

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Just like that, your files will be sorted with folders on the top.

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This is much easier than it was pre-Sierra. It’s not exactly an innovative new feature, but it will make life just a little bit easier for switchers, or anyone who prefers it when folders are sorted separately from other documents.

Justin Pot is a technology writer and enthusiast who lives in Portland, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.

  • Published 11/8/16

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