I'm using Finder on macOS, and one major frustration I have is the disorganized grid view that always ends up cluttered and messy until I right click and 'Clean Up by Name'.

I don't mind the grid view in itself, but I'm also fine with list view. What I want is a system where it will use list view 100% of the time, NOT on a folder-by-folder basis, which is what happens when I click on the list view icon in the title bar.

Any help would be much appreciated.

2 Answers 2

  • Open finder
  • Select your hard disc
  • CommandJ
  • Check the top two check boxes (Always open in list view, browse in list view)
  • Click use as defaults
  • Open Applications->Utilities->Terminal
sudo find / -name ".DS_Store"  -exec rm {} \;
  • Enter your root password, press enter
  • 19
    For anybody who is not aware, .DS_Store files are files generated by Finder to remember the view that they are opened in. In this case, they are deleted to set all folders back to the default.
    – brendon-ai
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 22:27
  • 3
    Also. Best to copy and past that line of code since it combines sudo with rm
    – Zach Smith
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 7:06
  • 3
    Should be enough to just do a find ~ -name ".DS_Store" -exec rm {} \; to remove .DS_Store files from your home directory. Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 5:47
  • 2
    The top two checkboxes are always "Always open in icon view" in my encrypted sparsebundle, even when I've changed it to list view and run the other commands. Anywhere else it says "Always open in list view" when the window is set to list view, but not the encrypted sparsebundle :(
    – adfaklsdjf
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 14:08
  • 1
    @adfaklsdjf you have to "be" in the list view in order for the checkboxes to say "Always open in list view". Though the set as default button was still greyed out for me :-( Commented May 2, 2022 at 21:31

We use this in scripts to set up our Macs (you may also execute the defaults... from Terminal.app):

# Use list view in all Finder windows by default
# Four-letter codes for the other view modes: `icnv`, `clmv`, `glyv`
defaults write com.apple.finder FXPreferredViewStyle -string "Nlsv"

As mentioned above, this helps to remove other views, which Finder remembered because of the .DS_Store files:

sudo find / -name ".DS_Store" -exec rm {} \;

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