Is it possible to get 'folders on top' on the desktop (too) by any plist file hack or third-party app?

My desktop (OS X Mavericks) is a bit cluttered and I've already sorted them on kind, but all .AI, .PSD, .INDD, .PNG, .JPG, .HTML files come first. I'm already able to sort them on top in Finder, via a third-party addon for Finder, but I need it even more on my desktop.


3 Answers 3


You can sort your Desktop as you can do it with your Finder folder structure.

Just sort by "Tags" and thats it:

enter image description here

In my tests, folders are showen before other files. But of course, if you have Tags given, it gets sorted differently.

So three solutions:

  1. Give specific Tags and sort by Tags
  2. Give non Tags and sort by Tags
  3. Give your folder names starting with "_" or "#" and sorty by Name
  • Huh, none of my files have tags and if I sort by tags, it gets rearranged, without folders first. However, if I give all my folders a tag, then they stay spread over my whole desktop.. So in both solution 1 & 2 I don't get the wished for situation. Jul 18, 2014 at 10:07
  • 1. Understandable. I tried it many times, rearanged them, and it still works. This is just a sloppy solution; 2. Its not unterstandable. When you click "Sorty By", they get sorted. When the spread over your desktop it means you didn't sort them. So get sure to sort again after you set tags.
    – ohboy21
    Jul 18, 2014 at 10:12
  • Apparantly, whether or not items have tags, my desktop content stays like this after sorting. ctrlv.in/359566 - I'm doing this atm on 10.10, might be a Yosemite bug. Thanks anyway! Jul 18, 2014 at 10:31

To make the folders come first in finder, change the order of data categories in spotlight.

Hit Command plus spacebar and then type spotl. That opens spotlight preferences. You will see all the data categories you have checked, or are checked by default. Simply drag "folders" to the top of the list. You can also arrange all the data categories in the order you want. So when you are looking in Finder and opt to arrange by "kind" the folder show up first together with any other changes in the order that you made.

Thanks to David Pogue's OSX Yosemite, the missing manual, Page 132.

  • Nope, Finder looks exactly the same. Even after a reboot. Even when sorted by kind. However, keep in mind, I want to show folders on top on desktop, not finder specifically :) Which this solution doesn't work either. Sorry. Mar 30, 2015 at 15:59

This solution might sound to easy, but for me it works!

Select your entire hard drive in the Finder. Then click the view options:

In the next dialog select:

  • Arrange by: None
  • Sort by: Kind

enter image description here

Now (even whitout using the "Kind" fillering option), all your folders should show up first. I've noticed only rarely that some files are placed before the folders, bu it general it works in 95% of the cases.

I know the solution looks magical, but it did the trick for me without changing any system files(!).


  • By selecting the hard drive, you set this options for all subfolders.
  • Repeat these steps for all hard drives/partitions you have.

I might have figured it out once by "trial and error" in the past, because i don't remember how I set this option (I first started of with Snow leopard in 2010 - my first Mac). I was reinstalling my new MBP pro and got annoyed by the awkward filtering of folders and files...

  • The OP says that is what he has done
    – mmmmmm
    Sep 30, 2015 at 21:26

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