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How to set file grouping for a folder in Finder on macOS

Items in folders in Finder can be sorted and grouped in all sorts of ways. You have the usual date sorting options, the type sort, the size sorting option, sorting by tags, and much more. You may notice though that when you set the default folder group in Finder for a particular folder, it keeps resetting. When you visit it again, the groups are gone and your files are using the default sort rules. Here’s how you can set default file grouping for a folder in Finder, and actually get it to stick.

Default grouping folders

There are two ways to do this. Pick whichever you like best though neither is better nor more convenient than the other.

Enable groups from context menu

Navigate to the folder you want to set the sort view for. Right-click inside it and in the context menu, select the ‘Use Groups’ option. Right-click one more time in the folder, and select the ‘Group By’ option. From the sub-menu, select how you want the files in the folder to be sorted i.e., by tag, date, size, etc.

Finder View Options

Open the folder that you want to set the sort view for. On the menu bar, go to View>Show View Options. Make sure you’re getting view options for the folder and not for the desktop. In the window that opens, there’s a ‘Group By’ dropdown. Open it, and select how you want to group the files in the folder. That’s about it.

When you open the folder next time, regardless if it’s after a restart or after waking your Mac from sleep, the grouping will still stick. Any new files that you add will also be grouped accordingly.

This option is set on a per-folder basis however, you will notice that there’s a ‘Use as Defaults’ button in the View Options window. If you click it, this same grouping will be applied across the board to all folders. If you always prefer files to be sorted a a certain way, this is the way to do it. It will apply to all the folders that you currently have, and to any new folders that you create. You can still selectively change the grouping for a particular folder. All you have to do is visit the View Options window for that folder and select a different grouping method.

macOS is rather flexible in some areas, especially when it comes to custom file and folder settings.

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