I just upgraded to OS X Lion (10.7.4) and one of the new features I read about was the ability to arrange the Applications folder by Application Category in the Finder.

I did this and the applications are properly broken out by category, but they are not sorted alphabetically within each category. For example, in the Utilities category, the apps are listed as "Font Book, Automator, Launchpad, Dashboard, Mission Control" etc...

Is there any way to use the "arrange by category" feature and sort alphabetically within each category?

3 Answers 3


Finder has two separate sorting modes in Lion. If you hold option, the View > Arrange By menu turns into Sort By. You can also change the Sort By mode from the view options.


In Icon view, try sorting alphabetically (without categories) and then sort by categories. The apps in each category should stay alphabetically ordered.

In List view, hit -J to see the view options. You can choose to "Arrange By" Application Category and to "Sort By" Name.

  • I've done that by choosing "None" as the Arrange By option, and then clicking on the Name header (in list view) -- does not maintain the sort when I go back to Arrange By Category, but is there a different way to sort I should be using? Thanks!
    – Jim
    May 18, 2012 at 18:35
  • @Jim Interesting. My Applications folder was sorted by name and when I switched to Category they stayed sorted by name, in Icon view. In List view, they're sorted by Last Modified, oldest first (which is particularly useless for applications).
    – Cajunluke
    May 18, 2012 at 18:38

Arrange the Applications folder by Application Category, then Ctrl-click or right-click on any application. Select 'Show View Options'. On the fourth line, select 'Sort by' and 'Name'.

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