I like to keep folders and files organized and systematically arranged in my computer. If I have folders that I still want to available, but not have to appear alongside other more current folder, I can name them (preface the name with: ‘Ω_‘ so they appear at the bottom of the list of folders in a given directory.

The Mac has a specific order in which it shows folders and files when arranged alphabetically, or as it’s called in the Finder in OS X, “sort by name.”

Obviously, any files or folders that start with a letter will be sorted alphabetically. And those that start with numbers will be before these. For example, a file named “2012-08-15 something.pdf” will go before one named “something.pdf”.

However, that’s not enough for me. I want some folders to always be at the top, and some to always be at the bottom. That’s where special characters are useful.

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@at, shift+2
`left of 1 key (below tilde)
^hat, shift+6
+plus sign
<open bracket
>close bracket
µ(Option M)
π(Option P)
Ω(Option Z)
(Shift-Option K)

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The attached image displays the order MacOS sorts characters:

Customized WordPress websites - ZoeSnyder.com - Houston, Tx- Character order MacOS

Space comes before the letter “A”, so do most punctuation marks. I use a space for the 2 folders I keep at the top, an exclamation mark for my “action” folders, and the @ symbol for 2 folders that hold temporary files. The other ones before numbers and letters I don’t use.

For the one folder I like to keep at the bottom I use the Apple symbol  or ‘Ω_‘.

[panel style=”info” text_align=”left”]Note that some characters are reserved by the system for specific things and shouldn’t be used. For example, files starting with a period are treated as hidden files by OS X.
By the way, here’s how you get those 4 characters at the bottom: µ (Option M), π (Option P), Ω (Option Z), and  (Shift-Option K)


This post originally appeared here: Disturbances In The Wash. I thought it was so cool that I wanted to include it on my site. I hope you found it as informative as I did.

One Response

  1. The order appears to be the same in Sierra. Comma is sorted between dash and exclamation point (bang!), and percent between star and grave (`). Other punctuation marks (and some listed, such as ‘?’ and ‘*’) cause problems on the command line, so are best not used.