How to Organize Your Desktop in 7 Steps

For greater computer productivity, you need an organized computer. This guide shows how to organize your desktop in 7 steps.

Are you looking to organize your desktop, but aren’t quite sure how to do it?

Organizing your desktop can help make your job (and your life) easier and less stressful. But, what do you need to do to get organized?

Check out this guide to discover how to organize your desktop.

  1. Consolidate Your Most-Used Apps 

Consolidating your most important apps is one of the best things you can do to organize your desktop.

Begin by taking inventory of all of the apps on your desktop and figure out which ones are most important to your job. Most people have three or four apps that they use on a daily basis.

Once you’ve identified the apps that are most important to you, you might want to use a single suite of apps so you don’t have to deal with such a mess.

  1. Create File Shortcuts 

Creating file shortcuts is another thing you can do to get your desktop organized. Every expert desktop organizer knows that you should never directly save files to your desktop.

Instead, begin by saving your files to your “Documents” folder that is on your hard drive. Then, add a shortcut to that folder on your desktop. Most computer backup systems don’t protect files that you save directly to your desktop. This means that these documents are at risk in the event of a crash.

By saving your folders to an area on your hard drive, it protects you against possible data loss. Plus, adding a shortcut to your desktop will allow you to access your files frequently and conveniently.

To make a desktop shortcut on your PC, all you need to do is right-click on the chosen folder and click “Make Desktop Shortcut”. If you have a Mac, either right-click or control-click on the folder icon. Then, click “Alias” and drag the alias to your desktop.

  1. Organize Files Into Separate Folders 

Sorting your files into folders is another golden rule of desktop organization.

We suggest creating a separate folder for each broad category in your life, such as work, home, and school. Then, within each folder, you can create sub-folders where you store certain materials for specific purposes, such as family vacation photos or a work project you’re planning.

Creating folders allows you to navigate easily through your documents. Plus, it saves tons of room on your desktop.

  1. Organize and Color-Code Your Folders 

Once you’ve sorted your files into folders, it’s time to get the folders themselves organized.

There are plenty of different ways you can organize your folders, and which way you choose really comes down to your preferences and needs. A lot of people prefer dividing their desktops into two halves.

One half of your desktop is for applications and software, and the other half of your desktop is for folders and documents. To make it easier to locate your files, we also suggest alphabetizing each side.

Another popular method is to organize your desktop into four quadrants. With this method, you can separate your files into separate sections based on work, family life, finances, and personal life. If you use your computer for multiple areas of your life, then this method can be particularly helpful.

In addition to organizing your folders, we also suggest color-coding them. If you’re a visual learner, color-coding your files can be particularly helpful. For example, you can label all of your financial documents with the color green, and all of your work items with the color blue.

The same should be done for your iCloud files. If you don’t know how to get your iCloud files on your Mac, you can check out this article on

  1. Do Regular Updates So Things Don’t Get Cluttered 

When you have the habit of saving items to your desktop, it can be easy to let things pile up. To prevent files from piling up on your desktop, we recommend spending at least a few minutes each week going through your desktop items and deleting the ones you don’t use anymore.

This will help you keep things up to date, and it’ll allow you to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in the past week and figure out what you need to tackle in the week ahead.

We also suggest that you limit the number of items that you display on your desktop so things don’t appear cluttered. While the number of icons you have on your screen will depend on your personal preferences, we suggest leaving at least half of your screen space open.

  1. Have an Automated System Set Up 

Setting up an automated system is another great way to organize your desktop. With your life pulling you in a million different directions, it can sometimes be difficult to remember to declutter your desktop each week.

Luckily, both PCs and Macs come with systems that will automatically clean up your screen. Mac OS X comes with two great programs- Clean and Desktoday. Both of these programs automatically transfer files from your desktop to a different folder when they haven’t been touched for a certain period of time.

  1. Choose the Right Background

Choosing the right background is another important step in organizing your desktop. To keep your mind clutter-free, we suggest choosing a clean, neutral background.

While it may seem fun to choose backgrounds with bright colors and lots of pictures, this can make your desktop look crowded, and it can distract you from important files.

How to Organize Your Desktop: Are You Ready to Get Organized? 

Now that you know how to organize your desktop, it’s time to get started. Before you know it, your life will feel a lot less stressful thanks to your organized desktop.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more desktop organization tips and tricks.

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