Stupid Simple Mac Tips for Lawyers #20 – About that mess on your Desktop

by | Mar 5, 2020

This week we’re here to talk about your Mac’s Desktop.

Specifically, the chaotic mess of files littered there.

You might not realize the impact, but it robs you of your time as you painstakingly read the name of each and every file as you search for what you need.

Let’s improve this with some quick changes, by adjusting your preferences for how files are sorted.

I personally change my icon size and sort them by Kind as well while I’m in there.

This does 3 things:

  1. Change icon size = more items on the desktop without feeling crowded.
  2. Sorts by Kind, meaning Folders, PDF, Screenshots, etc.
  3. An added bonus is that it sorts alphabetically.

For example, your PDF files will be first grouped together and then sorted alphabetically. Just with those little changes, it’ll now be much easier to find what you’re looking for on your Desktop.

To do this:
1. Get to the settings:

  • Click on Finder in your dock
  • In the menu bar, click on Go > Desktop
  • In the menu bar, click on View > “Show View Options”

2. Make these changes:

  • Set Group By to Kind
  • Set Sort By to Name

3. Adjust the icon size to the smaller option

Whammy! That’s it, quick easy and it’s now just a little bit easier to find what you are looking for. If you like these settings, you can check “Use as Defaults” and it will use these settings for all other folders.

Now, if you are have TONS of files on your Desktop (you know who you are), here’s the advice I’ve given to hundreds of messy lawyers over the years:

Do it the right way. Spend some time purging and cleaning that mess:

1)     On your Desktop, create 3 folders:

  • Delete
  • To File
  • Unsure

2)     Clean up

  • Quickly move each file into one of 3 folders
  • Drag the “Delete” folder to the trash
  • File all the files in that folder in their proper location
  • Do another pass with the Unsure files

From there, your desktop will be far more organized as your items will be easily identified and won’t overlap. You’ll also feel less anxiety over your out-of-control desktop.