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Tidy Up Your Tech: How to Organize Files on Your Computer

General Rules

1. Don’t put files on the desktop
Your desktop is supposed to be clean and display that gorgeous high-resolution wallpaper you’ve got going on.

2. Use files and folders effectively
Folders hold files within them. Like storing individuals papers in a file cabinet. Make sure to name your files and folders strategically.

3. Save Documents in “Documents”
Make sure when you store a picture, to save it in the “pictures” folder. The major file types are either Pictures or Documents.

4. Clear your downloads folder
Clean out files in “Downloads” that you no longer need. Any attachment you click on from an email or the internet goes into your downloads.

5. Use the “Spotlight Search” function
Holding down “Command” on the keyboard while pressing spacebar will bring up the Spotlight Search. Simply click on the magnifying glass symbol in the upper right.

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Files vs Folders
The “Finder” is where you will find your files & folders. All programs and data are contained in a file. A folder holds one or more files, and it can be empty with just a name. Folders provide a method for organizing files.

Folder Organization

Naming Files & Folders

  • When naming your files or folders, make sure to keep them brief but also detailed.
  • Shorter names are easier to find and remember, while being detailed allows you to differentiate between files.

Create Subfolders

  • You can put Folders inside of other folders called “subfolders”
  • Example: Inside your “Documents” folder, you may have many other folders to organize files.

Cleaning House

  • Start with your downloads folder. Delete unneeded files and drag files out of downloads into their appropriate folders.
  • Now move onto your desktop, deleting unneeded files or shortcuts. Also drag files into the appropriate folders.
  • Delete duplicate files!

How to Use the Search Bar


  • Use the Search bar at the top right to quickly navigate to files, folders, and applications *Spotlight Search
  • Finder is your resource for file browsing.
  • Use the File Destination at the bottom to quickly jump to previous folders and files.


  • Use the search bar at the bottom left to quickly navigate to files, folders, and programs.
  • File Explorer is your resource for file browsing.
  • Use the Back, Forward, and Up buttons at the top left of the file explorer window to quickly jump to previous folders.

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