Deb's Reader's Thoughts on Folder Organization

Written and published January 21, 1999


As you may know, I am doing a continuing column on organizing your Mac and making it most efficient, staring at the very beginning. The number of you who have written to share your thoughts and ideas has pleasantly surprised me. I love what the Web can do and how it can bring us all together.

I thought it would be insightful to share some of the variances of folder organization that some of you have shared with me. There are some good ideas here and these letters may help you get a better plan going for yourself. Rather than tacking this on to my next column, I decided to ask MacCentral's editors to give these responses and thoughts their own column when befitting.

Thanks to everyone for sharing.

I'm SO glad to see a story like your latest from MacCentral. I've been doing that since my Performa 475 daze. I was beginning to think I was too anal (you see, I'm in the medical profession and this tends to be welcomed behavior (no pun intended). I've gone a step further by creating folders for: software updates/registration numbers for software/word processing and graphics. I even have two desktop folders called Internet Downloads and Desktop Apps. For, well, what they appear to be. So, thanks again. Neat is nice! ;)

Hi Deb:
Nice little article. I train people on this point all the time.
Happy New Year,

Wow, just read your MacCentral article on the Application folder... finally someone who organizes like me. Check out the attached pict file. If you do any reporting on the Apple Menu, you absolutely, positively MUST mention AMICO. If you don't know what it is, look it up at It is, IMHO, an indispensable Apple Menu tool.
-Scott Boone, Scott Boone Consulting

Deb's note: At quick glance AMICO looks handy, but I am not advocating Extensions for this organization. The idea for now is to not be totally lost when you turn off an organizational Extension. Later I will point out some Extensions that provide various organizational aids - but they will never, in my book, replace the system I am putting forth here. That said, I would also be careful about using an Extension that dates back several years prior to the operating system. Scott says it works and he knows his way around the Mac very well, but readers, please don't try old Extensions yourselves.

I read your article on Application Folder Organization. What you wrote described exactly the way I used to have my applications organized: I had a "Utilities" Folder, and "Applications" Folder, "Games," "Reference," "Internet and Communications." I have since stopped using this method because I found it to be time-consuming keeping my ever changing apps sorted and I never knew where to sort my stuff. Now I use a far superior method. I have an Applications folder where I dump all my apps (including some things that you called Utilities such as QuickTime Movie Player, Norton, etc) and a Utilities folder where I dump only the most basic Utilities (Assistants, Drive Setup, AppleScript, etc). Where I do the categorization is in my launcher: I have 6 categories: Other, Internet, Utilities, Reference, Games, Document Creation. (Note my use of Document Creation instead of Applications. Technically, all apps are programs and visa-versa.)

Thank you,

Aaron Antrim

Deb's note: Aaron's method works as well, as long as you don't have too many programs in the one folder. The more you have in a folder the longer it takes to open that folder. The key is that he organizes in his Launcher so he can quickly call a program into action.

Hi Deb,

Thanks for the article. You seem to advocate separation of files along the exact lines I have been using for more than 4 years. I do indeed use a folder called Graphics for things like Photoshop and within the last year or so I have added one more called Web, for web publishing tools like GoLive CyberStudio. Com is the name of the folder wherein reside Netscape, MSIE, FirstClass client, etc. and Utilities, Documents, Fun, Apps and the System folder accompany the others at the root level of hard drive.

For access to the apps, I use a control strip module called Control Strip Menu items, which currently has about 50 aliases in it. I have grouped the ones I get to most frequently at the bottom of the list by adding one or two ~'s to the beginning of the name of the alias. Since I keep the control strip at the bottom of the screen, this minimizes mousing around.

Looking forward to hearing your recommendations for launching apps.

Keep up the good work.
Andy Miller

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