Organize Your Desktop: Organise your Mac Desktop in Six Easy Steps

Organize Your Desktop

Step 1 Clear Your Desktop
Go to your Finder
Select Desktop from the menus in the right hand column and we are going to tidy things up.

Step 2 – Plan Your Structure

At this point we need to do a little planning
We need to create a series of categories for our documents, applications and apps which we will use when we build our desktop dashboard

These are not in any particular order and I have given examples of the documents, applications and apps that fit each category.
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We will use these categories when we come to set up our Tags which we will assign to the items on our desktop
Next we are going to look at the Desktop itself and discover how we can place our documents, apps and applications on the desktop.

Step 3 Master Your Desktop

The first thing we need to do is to understand that we are going to use shortcuts, also called Aliases in the Mac world, to place our items on the desktop.

In Finder go to Applications
Select the Application you wish to create the shortcut/alias for
CTL Click on the Application and from the dropdown menu that appears, select Make Alias
This will appear below the application and have a small arrow showing its a Alias.
You simply drag and drop the item you want as an Alias or shortcut to the desktop and the Alias is automatically created.

The next step to mastering the desktop is to take a look at the Desktop View Options
Go into your Desktop Menu, in the View Menu select Show View Options
or hold down the Command Button and use the shortcut “J”

Firstly we can see that it is possible to “Stack” the items on the desktop which groups them together. We are going to use the Tags option to do this

Step 4 Discovering Tags

Now we need to take a look at Tags as these are going to be particularly helpful
Tags enable us to classify the Aliases to match our categories which we set up in the previous step.

Now we need to take a look at Tags as these are going to be particularly helpful
Tags enable us to classify the Aliases to match our categories which we set up in the previous step.
To do this, go to Finder Preferences and select the Tags option
We can assign colours and descriptive names to our tags.

Step 5 Create The Dashboard

Now we are ready to create our Dashboard
For each Alias we will use a naming convention
The Name of the App + a short functional description. This will help us to select which app we need when using the dashboard
We will also attach an appropriate tag to each short cut.
To assign a tag is simple
Control Click on the Alias
At the bottom of the menu that appears, select Tags and then select the tag you wish to assign to the Alias, if you need to, create a new one but try to keep your category structure logical.
For each Alias, I am going to name it with the application name and a brief description and add the appropriate tag.
When this is done I will show you the results.

Step 6 – Managing The Dashboard

My Initial Dashboard has been created and I want to share with you now how you can get the most out of it.
Here you can see the “organic” layout of the dashboard, where I have simply grouped and placed the aliases where I choose
However I can also easily sort them by name which makes an individual application easier to find.
This is what happens when I use stacking – the documents, apps and applications are grouped together

We can even go one step further. If you prefer to have a completely clear Desktop and I know some of you do, simply copy all the aliases from the Desktop Finder into a new Folder – lets call it Computer Dashboard – and then delete the Desktop Aliases

You now have a sortable and tagged dashboard which you can run from Finder with a completely clean Desktop!

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