Currently .mp3, .aac, .m4r, etc. are all looked as "Music". So when I do an Arrange or Group By in the Lion Finder, all of these files get displayed under the heading "Music". Is there an option to make this arrange by Kind setting respect the exact file type?

  • Do you care what view mode you use? This is easy in List view, but I'm not sure of a way to do it in Icon, Column, etc. Sep 10, 2011 at 16:26
  • ah, sorry should have mentioned that. Was looking to do it in the column view specifically. But, do let me know how this is done in List view as well ? Sep 10, 2011 at 19:44
  • Wow... I just checked and apparently it doesn't work any more. I feel silly. Sorry! Sep 10, 2011 at 20:05

3 Answers 3


It sounds like you want to "sort" your files rather than "arrange" them.

  1. In Finder open up the folder you would like to sort by kind (file type).
  2. Click the Action button (gear icon).
  3. Choose Show View Options.
  4. Set Arrange By to None.
  5. Set Sort By to Kind.

Your files can be sorted more specifically now. There are also a few other tricks to such as holding down the option key while selecting what you would like to sort by, which overrides grouping.

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  • 3
    wow, that makes no intuitive sense to me, but I can confirm that you can sort music files by actual file type this way. Adding any other finder sorting tricks to this answer would be great! Sep 16, 2011 at 14:59
  • 5
    @ioi actually what i "really" want is to get the sorting done by file type exactly as you've mentioned AND have them nicely grouped by kind. Basically the "group by" kind nicely splits them up with headings. But functionality wise, applying your solution gets them sorted by kind(and they do this alphabetically), so you get the brownies on this. Cheers! Sep 16, 2011 at 19:58
  • 5
    great explanation, though I must admit, I also am puzzled by Apple's logic here...
    – verboze
    Nov 9, 2012 at 17:31
  • 1
    This should have saved my life, except I'm totally unable to make it work... sort by kind does nothing at all, even when arrange by none is selected. My .azw3 and .opf files cannot get grouped separately no matter what combinations I try. My workaround, once again, is to use easyfind some third-party app without which I couldn't function on a Mac.
    – PatrickT
    May 26, 2017 at 10:24
  • 2
    While this comment is interesting, it does not solve the question asked - finder seems to have some in-built logic as to what file types to group together into headers and that seems fixed. There's no way to sort by file extension without resorting to craziness like special search folders.
    – frumbert
    Nov 27, 2018 at 4:35

There is a better way that I always use when I need.

I just right click in the Finder window and hold down the 'alt' key. It provides me with the menu item to sort by when I would like :)

So, in this case, I right click in the folder, hold down the 'alt' key, choose Sort By, and choose Kind.

I hope this helps :)


Open the folder in a new window, then search for the format: for instance .mp3. Make sure the search is only for the folder you have open. There you should find all of the mp3-files contained in that particular folder.

  • It may be helpful to provide more detailed instructions, or even screenshots, to help demonstrate how to find mp3 files using search.
    – Jake3231
    Jul 16, 2018 at 15:55

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