How to use Stacks on your Mac

Stacks automatically organizes your desktop, so it's easy to keep it tidy and find exactly what you're looking for.

Available in macOS Mojave or later, Stacks organizes your desktop into stacks of files grouped by categories, and keeps it organized as you save new files. With Stacks, a cluttered desktop is a thing of the past.

Turn Stacks on or off

To turn Stacks on or off:

  • Choose View > Use Stacks from the Finder menu bar.
  • Or Control-click (right-click) anywhere on your desktop, then choose Use Stacks from the shortcut menu.

When Stacks is on, each file is part of a stack, unless it's the only file of its kind on your desktop. Folders appear just below stacks.

Change how your stacks are grouped

By default, stacks are grouped by kind, such as images, PDFs, presentations, screenshots, and others.

To group stacks by date modified, tag, or other categories, choose View > Group Stacks By from the menu bar. Or Control-click your desktop and choose Group Stacks By from the shortcut menu. 



An open Stack, showing the down arrow on the stack and the contents of the stack displayed as separate icons on the desktop

Work with your stacks

To open or close a stack, click the stack once. When a stack is open, its files appear on the desktop, and the stack icon becomes a folder with an arrow.

To view items in a stack without opening the stack:

  1. Move your pointer over a stack.
  2. Scroll with your trackpad or mouse. As you scroll, the stack's icon and name changes to match each file in the stack.
  3. When you find the file you want, double-click to open it.

Stacks also makes it easy to take actions on every item in a stack. Just Control-click the stack and choose an action from the shortcut menu, such as Rename, Compress, Share, or one of the available Quick Actions.


Learn more

Folder shortcuts in the Dock are another kind of stack, and you can use them together with the stacks on your desktop.  

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