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I discovered that on 10.8 the Applications folder does not allow you to change the sort order, it's always listed by name.

How can I change the sort order?

enter image description here

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That’s strange… I can change the sort order in my Applications folder. Is the name column header highlighted with blue? – duci9y Aug 22 '12 at 17:02
@DeepanshuUtkarsh I added a screenshot. – sorin Aug 23 '12 at 15:21

The view your screenshot displays can be produced if you go to the View menu and select Arrange by ▸ Name (or press ^1). When "Arrange by Name" is selected, indeed changing the sort order is not possible. If, however, you select View then Arrange by ▸ None or press ^0, your problem is solved.

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none of these options worked for me. I can arrange folders opened independently but if I am trying to place or open a file the menu is still unusable. I also do not have an "Arrange By" item, it is "Sort by" and it doesn't work for opening/placing files. Any other ideas? – user79581 Jun 2 '14 at 20:34

Go to View Menu > Arrange By > None. That will make the columns editable. You can sort by whatever criteria you want now.

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On the top of the Finder window, you have a set of buttons called View. Right beside that is a button called Arrange with a drop down arrow. Click the arrow and you can arrange however you want: by name, date, etc.

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