Q&A: Tidying Documents

Q I have various files and folders inside my Documents folder that I do not need to access: for example, there is a folder for Microsoft Office that I never open. How can I clean these up, either by moving them elsewhere, or by hiding them, to reduce the clutter?

A Many of these folders are special, in that the applications which need to access them expect to see them in a particular place, and expect them to have a fixed name. So moving them to another folder in your Home folder could break the applications, losing your mail or worse.

If you want to get them out of your way, probably the best plan is to make them invisible. An easy way of making files and folders invisible in the Finder is to preface their name with a full stop, as the Finder does not show such items, but this would again risk breaking the application that needs them.

Instead, set the special ‘hidden’ flag on each folder, either using a utility such as MacPilot, or the Terminal command
chflags hidden ~/Documents/MyFolder
If you want to unhide the folder again, use the command
chflags nohidden ~/Documents/MyFolder

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 26 issue 9, 2010.