The hard-to-explain, but fun-to-use Mac OS X discontinuous list reordering tip

This isn’t easy to explain, but it’s pretty useful. Just for an example, we’ll use Safari. Imagine you have a long list of bookmarks, but you want to move some bookmarks at the bottom of the list to a place near the top. But, the bookmarks you want to move aren’t located next to each other, there are some other bookmarks in-between that you don’t want to move. Have you ever scrolled down to the bottom, picked one of the bookmarks and then dragged it while scrolling to near the top of the list to drop it where you want it and then have to do that over and over?

There’s a better way (note: Command = Apple key):

1. Scroll down to the first bookmark you wish to move and Command-click it once to highlight it. Do the same for any other bookmarks you want to move. This Command-click method selects the bookmarks discontinuously – they’re the only ones selected, not the bookmarks in-between.

2. Then simply use the scroll bar to get to where you want the selected bookmarks to go and Command-click the bookmark above your desired location in the list, then Command-click-hold and jiggle your mouse a little. You’ll see a bookmark icon with a number (the number of selections you’ve made) superimposed.

3. Move just below the bookmark the want your selected bookmarks to go below (you’ll see the black reordering line appear) and let up on the mouse.

That’s it. All of the discontinuously selected bookmarks from the list will spring to where you want them. No more clicking and dragging and scrolling while dragging and going up and down over and over again necessary.

Please let us know of other uses (or better explanations) in the Reader feedback below.


  1. You’re making this a lot harder than it’s meant to be. Just command-click the items you want to move, then drag them to the position you want to move them to.

  2. You misunderstand JohnB.
    The idea is to avoid dragging because dragging items from the bottom of a long list (many hundreds of items) can be painfully slow (especially on Carbon Events-based programs). This is a brilliant idea – The key is that you add the item that you are going to drag _to_ to the drag. I tried this in the CodeWarrior project window to move some files from the bottom of a 732 entry list to the top. This method is about 50 times faster!

  3. Um, guys, I hate to break this to ya – but this behaviour has been part of the Mac OS since system 7. The only difference is that in 7 & 8 one used the shift key to discontiguously select items in a list.

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