Mac File Management Training

If you use your computer to do work, chances are your computer has accumulated a lot of files. To improve your workflow, you can organize these files into folders, archive old files, and delete ones you don’t need anymore.

Organization of Documents

When you have a large number of documents on your computer, finding and working with those documents can become frustrating because it gets harder and harder to remember which document is for what project. One way to reduce this frustration is to organize your documents into folders. The folders can be named by topic, project, type of document, or anything that you want as long as it is useful to you. Once you create folders, you can put the relevant documents into the folders.

For example, if you have a project that involves preparation for an upcoming concert, you could have a folder called “Brass Concert 2008” and related documents such as program.doc, tickets.xls, seating.jpg and flyer.ppt could be put into that folder. When searching for files related to that concert, you can go to the folder “Brass Concert 2008” and all of the pertinent files are in one place waiting for you.

Create a Folder

We are going to create a folder to put some files in.

1. Click on the Finder located in your dock and click on Documents on the sidebar. This will open the Documents folder.

2. Click File > New Folder. A folder will now appear in Documents and its name will be highlighted so that you can name it.

3. Type “training” and hit the enter key to name the folder. (Tip: folders and files can be renamed later). You now have a new folder. You can double-click on the folder to open it.

Create a File

For the purpose of training, we are going to use Microsoft Word to quickly create a file that we can manipulate in this session.

1. Open Microsoft Word in your dock.

2. Type the word “signature” along with some random text into a blank document.

Mac File MGMT 1
Mac File MGMT 1

3. Go to File > Save.

4. Navigate to Documents and find the training folder that you just made in the above exercise.

5. Save the file in the training folder with the name foobar (note: you can choose any format to save your file from the drop down box. The format default is set to Word Document (.docx) ).

Mac File MGMT 2
Mac File MGMT 2

Find a File

Search by Name. You may know all or part of the filename, but forget where the file is located. That’s okay, you can still find the file using the following steps.

1. On the top right hand corner of your Finder and screen is a magnifying glass or blank text field called your Spotlight. At any time you can search for a specific file if you know the file’s name. Click on the text field or magnifying glass.

2. Enter “f” and you will see that Mac OS X looks in every possible location for every file that starts with the letter f or has f contained in it.

3. Once you see the file you want, click on it and the file will open.

Archiving files

If you have a number of files that you don’t frequently use anymore but just can’t bear to part with, then it may be a good idea for you to archive them into a .zip file. Zip files are “compressed”, meaning that they take up less space on the disk than their uncompressed counterparts. Furthermore, a zip file can contain many files and folders but it is itself only one file, which is useful if you want to email a lot of files to someone or distribute a number of files on KATIE. Here’s how to create an archive:

1. Put all of the files and folders you want to archive into a single folder (this is optional, but it makes things easier when you need to uncompress the ZIP file).

2. Right click on the folder or go to the action in button in your Finder and go to Compress (title of folder).

3. There will now be a ZIP file in the same folder as the original folder you archived. By default, it has the same name as the folder but you may rename it to something more useful to you. Just click on the zip files icon and hit the Return key and type a new name.

4. Since all the files in the original folder are in the archive, you may delete the original folder.

Delete a File

You will want to remove files that you no longer need from your computer. For one thing, files that contain sensitive data should be stored on a network share rather than on your computer so they cannot be accessed by someone walking into your office. Furthermore, by storing files on the network, they are backed up daily. You may also want to remove files from your computer to reduce the amount of clutter on your computer which makes it easier to find the files that you do need.

Note: If you have a particularly sensitive file to be removed from your computer, contact the Technology Help Desk for assistance in completely removing all trace of the file from your computer.

You can choose to remove files on a regular basis (e.g. monthly or yearly) or after a large project has been completed and the files are no longer needed. In either case, make sure you backup your computer before you begin deleting files…just in case.

To delete the foobar.docx file that we created earlier in this training:

  1. Open a Finder window.
  2. Click on Documents.
  3. Double-click on the “training” folder.
  4. Select the foobar.docx file.
  5. Use File > Move to Trash ,or right-click Move to Trash, or click and drag the file to your trash in the dock. The file has now been moved to your Trash. It has not yet been removed from your computer so it’s not too late to get it back if you deleted a file by accident.
  6. To remove the file from your computer, double-click the Trash icon in your dock to open the Trash.

7. Click on Finder > Empty Trash… or click Empty to remove all other items.

The same steps can be done to remove the “training” folder from your computer as well.

Restore a File

If you accidentally delete a file that you still need, you can get the file back if it’s still in your Trash.

1. Open the Trash.

2. Select the file or files to restore and then drag them to the folder that you want them in.