I have a set of pictures named as hex representation of UUIDs. I want to see them ordered alphabetically as strings, but regardless what I try, the app shows me it differently:

enter image description here

I have these settings about grouping: groupping

and sorting: sorting

I think I figured out the order it represents. It looks like it tries to cut the longest string of decimal digits from the beginning of the name, interprets it as a number, and orders by this number. Albeit it can be convenient in some cases, it is not desired for me.

Is it possible to switch off this feature in Finder and obtain normal alphabetical sort order?

EDIT: this question shines a light on the sorting algorithm but does not suggest how to switch it to normal string sorting.

  • I changed the title to more clearly state that I am asking about how to get alphabetical order (if it is possible at all). I am not really interested in the details of existing sorting algorithm.
    – greatvovan
    Jan 7, 2020 at 18:49
  • The potential duplicate states that this behaviour is not changeable.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 7, 2020 at 19:22
  • If it is not changeable in Finder, perhaps it is in Path Finder? There's a free demo, that might be worth checking out.
    – TJ Luoma
    Jan 7, 2020 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


Apple's Finder has been using "natural" sort order (where strings of digits are ordered as single characters) for file names for nearly 20 years, since OS X 10.0 There's no way to change it as far as I know. If you want the other kind of sort order, you have to use Terminal or a 3rd party app.


I recall this happening to me, the problem is the button you are referring to is actually "group by" not sort by. I see this as a serious design flaw from Apple, but whatever.

Right-click somewhere on finder. Click "show view options" as seen below.

enter image description here

Click "sort by" and select "name." I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of "group by" is, but it doesn't do what you're looking for.

enter image description here

  • No-no... Just this button is "Group By". but "Opt"+button is "Sort By". The screenshots illustrate both settings. The problem is that when it is all set CORRECTLY Finder does not use string alphabetical order (see the linked question).
    – greatvovan
    Jan 7, 2020 at 22:09

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