Do you have to stick with the Documents, Pictures, Music, Movies file structure?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Lau, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. Lau Guest

    Apologies if this has been covered before but I've used every conceivable search term I can think of and haven't come up with anything.

    Obviously you can add folders to the main home file directory, i.e. Documents, Library, Movies, Music, Naughty Pictures of Ladies, Pictures, etc. However, I don't find the structure terribly helpful. I'm starting to think I'd be better off with a kind of forked file structure, ideally Lau > My Work > Projects, Photos, Drawings, Documents, etc and then have a Lau > Other People's Work > Inspiration, Photos, Fonts, etc, making it easier to back up as well as keep track of files.

    I'm still trying to think about the best way to do this, but how much can I bugger around with the file structure without screwing up OSX? Some programs seem to use the standard Documents folder for instance, and so I suspect I can't delete them, but can I move them? Do I have to do anything to relink them or anything? If I can't move them I could just make new shortcut links in the side Finder bar and never click on "Lau" in Finder, but I'm just interested as to how much I can make the structure my own.

    Do any of you have an unconventional file structure? How do you organise things? Thanks for any help or comments.
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    You can put things anywhere you want - the default locations are mere suggestions, and anything that looks to them first can be told to look elsewhere. :)

    I personally don't use any Documents, Movies, or Pictures. Movies, Music, and Pictures, for example, have been replaced with shared folders so multiple users can see the same thing. iTunes actually uses an external drive on one of my Macs, which is then mounted on each of the others.
  3. Lau thread starter Guest

    You have no idea how much it excites me to hear you say that. :D

    So if a program looks for the Documents folder and it isn't there it'll ask me where I want it go? What about, say iPhoto, with its horrific multitude of folders? (I don't really use iPhoto for storing anything, just the odd iPod transfer.)

    Are you saying to me that I could just delete all those folders and just have my own whole structure (but I'd keep the Library)? <rubs thighs in feverish anticipation of neat folders> :p
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    OK, before you actually get completely turned on (sorry if it's too late), it's important to note that, for things like iTunes and iPhoto, you need to have those folders there, but they can point elsewhere as far as the actual files are concerned. Which means you shouldn't delete them - just use other folders.

    You can change iPhoto, for example, to look elsewhere by editing - is that the sort of thing that excites you or scares you (or both)?
  5. Lau thread starter Guest

    I know. But I do love neatness on the computer. :eek:

    <stops rubbing thighs> ;)

    Ok, so could I move those folders into other places? Say "Pictures", instead of being under Lau > Pictures was moved to Lau > Mac Folders > Pictures, would iPhoto be happy with that (and would be free to scatter its ugly folders around in there), if I told it where it was? I'm assuming yes, if, as you say, your Music folder is on an external drive.
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Well, what I meant was to create new folders and leave the old ones where they were.... just moving them won't automatically let the apps know where to look.

    Here's one example of how to store photos elsewhere:
    • Create a new top-level photo folder wherever you want.
    • Find [your account]->Library->Preferences-> and double-click it to open it in Property List Editor.
    • Open that first root node and look for "RootDirectory" below, then click on the value (which'll be something like /Users/lau/Pictures/iPhoto Library) and change it to the path to your new folder.

    Open iPhoto, and tell it to import photos from where they used to be, and you should be set.
  7. Lau thread starter Guest

    I seeeee. OK, I'll have to look into it in more detail, I think. I don't mind having them all still there under Lau, as I can add the top directories that are mine to the Finder bar and ignore em all, and that might be easier than modifying things in programs. I just got all excited about a beautiful clean drive that I can mould for my evil means. :p

    I just wish applications were neat and consistent and sensible. Damn them.

    Thanks for your help, jsw, it's been most useful. :)
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Well, they are neat and consistent and sensible - just not the way you'd want them to be. :)

    You can do all that you want, but it's a wee bit of work, and it might require the same wee bit of work when you upgrade to Leopard.
  9. Lau thread starter Guest

    Good point.

    Maybe I should tidy up as best I can and do the structure how I want but keeping the important folders where they are for now (even if they're empty), and then when Leopard comes out I'll have to immediately upgrade to a MacBook with Leopard so as to become properly organised. Yes. That's what I'll do. It's the only sensible option. ;)
  10. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    just to add to this a bit, i wanted to organize my applications away from icons on the dock and into a orderly folder structure, e.g. "print applications" "motion applications" utilities" and so on.

    what i found out is that while you CAN do this within the /applications folder, software update will NOT work for applications moved out of the root /applications folder; it just does not see them.

    thats when i figured out to create another folder that sits in my dock, has nested folders for my categories, and contains aliases to all the apps i use. so now its all organized the way i like it and i do not break file structure.
  11. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
  12. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    Surely, Shirley, if you hold down Option as you open iPhoto, it'll ask you to point it to a Photo Library of your choice anyway? Is there any real need for all this geekiness? :confused:

    Likewise with iTunes.
  13. Lau thread starter Guest

    Thanks shecky, that's good to know.

    A very useful link, thanks.

    That's terribly exciting! Ooh.

    I loves me some shortcuts. :cool:

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