The OS X El Capitan Finder View Menu - dummies

The OS X El Capitan Finder View Menu

By Bob LeVitus

The Finder View menu in OS X El Capitan offers several commands that might help you peruse your icons more easily by cleaning up and organizing your Desktop:

  • Clean Up: Choose this command to align icons to an invisible grid; you use it to keep your windows and Desktop neat and tidy. (If you like this invisible grid, don’t forget that you can turn it on or off for the Desktop and individual windows by using View Options.) Clean Up is available only in Icon view or when no windows are active. If no windows are active, the command instead cleans up your Desktop. (To deactivate all open windows, just click anywhere on the Desktop or close all open windows.)

    If any icons are selected (highlighted) when you pull down the View menu, you see Clean Up Selection rather than Clean Up. If you choose this command, it moves only the icons that are currently selected.

  • Clean Up By: This command combines the tidiness of the Clean Up command with the organizational yumminess of the Arrange By command.

    This command sorts the icons by your choice of criteria, namely:

    • Name (shortcut: Command+Option+1)

    • Kind (shortcut: Command+Option+2)

    • Date Modified (shortcut: Command+Option+5)

    • Date Created (strangely, there’s no shortcut for this command)

    • Size (shortcut: Command+Option+6)

    • Tags (shortcut: Command+Option+7)

    Clean Up By is similar to the Arrange By command, but unlike Arrange By, Clean Up By is a one-time affair. After you’ve used it, you can once again move icons around and reorganize them any way you like.

  • Arrange By: This command rearranges the icons in the active window in your choice from among nine ways, which happen to be the same nine options (10, if you count None) in the Arrange By pop-up menu.

    Note that when the Desktop is active, this command is named Sort By; open a window in Icon view and it changes back to Arrange By. Seems weird, but it’s true.

    Unlike Clean Up By, which is a one-shot command, Arrange By is persistent and will continue to reorganize your icons automatically. In other words, you can’t move icons around manually in an arranged window.

    One last thing: The Clean Up and Clean Up By commands are available only for those windows viewed as icons. The Arrange By command is available in all four views and remains in effect if you switch to a different view or close the window. To stop the Finder from arranging icons in a window, choose None from either the View→Arrange By submenu or the toolbar’s Arrange pop-up menu, or use the keyboard shortcut, Command+Control+0.

If you’ve taken great pains to place icons carefully in specific places on your Desktop, the Clean Up By and Arrange By/Sort By commands will mess up your perfectly arranged Desktop icons. And alas, cleaning up your Desktop is still not something OS X lets you undo.