How to arrange your Mac’s Applications folder by category

“OS X Lion introduced a few nice updates to the OS X Finder, one of which is improved sorting. I’d like to tell you all about one example which I find rather handy,” Russell Harris writes for Amsys.

“I am often rummaging through my Applications folder to see what apps I have installed that could open a certain type of file, fortunately OS X Lion added a useful option called ‘Application Category,'” Harris explains. “What this little gem does is intelligently sort through all your apps and place them into their corresponding categories. Unfortunately, there are apps it doesn’t know how to categorise, therefore you will end up with an ‘other’ section at the bottom.”

Harris writes, “However, all in all, this can be rather useful to sort out your apps for easier definition.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Doesn’t it seem like nostalgia to NOT see AAPL analcyst or techtard journalist articles on MDN?

      How times have changed, now that Apple is on top. It’s like the rats are attracted to THE BIG CHEESE!

      I just enjoy geeking around with my Macs, a much preferable endeavor. I find myself skipping over a lot of the AAPL headlines now, not even bothering to care. Too boring and inane. I think I’ll go play with more MacPorts! Wee! 😉

  1. I LOVE IT. Some day we’ll catch up to the flexibility of Mac OS Classic.

    Unfortunately everything’s in the Other category. I have 118 items in Other. The second biggest category is Utilities, with 12 items.

  2. Actually, rather than using the Finder, I prefer using Launchpad to organize my apps. I know Launchpad gets crap for being “dumbed down” and “too much like iOS”, but what’s great about it is that you can organize your apps any way you like without moving the actual files. So you can, for example, create a folder for “Games” by dragging one game app on top of another (just like on the iPhone).

    Between Launchpad, Spotlight, and the old reliable DragThing, I have no need to use the Finder to launch apps.


    1. I rarely ever use the Applications folder anymore. I use Quicksilver instead.

      For any app not in my dock – say Spotify – I just tap Control-Space, and type ‘sp’, Spotify appears, and I hit the ‘enter’ key to launch it. It takes less than a second.

      Sometimes I find it faster to use Quicksilver even if an icon IS in my dock. Illustrator is ‘ill’, Safari is ‘saf’, and System Prefrences is ‘sys’.

    1. Maybe because categorization is closely linked to its actual use by the OS. If you were to put it in a category that it does not belong to then you will get inefficient and maybe unstable operation.

  3. I’d already created my own system for sorting by application category all the way back in Mac OS X 10.0. It confused people when I gave 10.0 demos in public, but it still works for me even onward at 10.8.

    I have the following folders sitting at the top of my list view of the Applications folder:

    -Compression, Encryption & Security
    -Desk Accessories
    -Joujou [French for toys, my games folder]
    -Sight & Sound
    -Words [written words that is]

    Then of course there is the ubiquitous Utilities folder.

    Most of my apps go into these folders. There are exceptions that don’t nicely fit into these categories, or their install insists they go into the root of the Applications folder, or they are direct UNIX apps that REQUIRE being in the root of the Applications folder or they break.

    I have cute icons for each of these folders, some of which I designed myself, some of which go all the way back to the Mac OS 7 days, some of which were taken from NeXTStep. My favorites are:
    -Compression…. – It is a StuffIt grinder icon with files, folders, documents going into the top end and dogfood coming out the other end. It’s a fun metaphor for encryption.
    -Speech – This one is a found icon of one old style Mac head smiling at another old style Mac head while thinking to himself ‘Idiot’. I like this one because it reminds me of the dysfunctional, hellish work culture I experienced at Eastman Kodak for over 5 years, soon may it die. 😀 Smile! Speak! Sit! Beg! Roll over! Play dead!

  4. manually, of course. who wants to toss most of his applications into the “other” folder?

    This is the kind of low-quality, low-value stuff that Apple should leave to 3rd party app developers.

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