Find System Preferences Easier in Mac OS X by Sorting Alphabetically

Nov 12, 2011 - 8 Comments

Sort System Preferences by Name Alphabetically

Mac System Preferences are grouped by categories: Personal, Hardware, Internet & Wireless, System, and Other. For most of us this is intuitive and easy enough to navigate, but if you’ve ever had to provide tech support over the phone to a Mac newbie you’ve probably encountered some confusion or delay as a user stares blankly at a screen full of icons. An easy remedy to this is sorting the System Preferences alphabetically by name:

  • Open “System Preferences” from the Apple  menu
  • Pull down the “View” menu and choose “Organize Alphabetically”

The categories are immediately removed and everything becomes sorted by the first character of each preference pane. This also condenses the prefs into a smaller screen space, reminiscent of older versions of Mac OS and Windows.

Find System Preferences by Name

This isn’t easier for everyone, but for someone new to Mac OS X who is used to the alphabetical grouping of Windows control panels, it can make it much quicker to get where they need to go.


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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. JC says:

    This was super helpful so thank you for showing me how to sort the system preferences alphabetically, what a great tip.

  2. […] than rearranging all of the System Preferences to be sorted alphabetically, you can access a quick pull-down menu of all the panels that is sorted by […]

  3. mike says:

    Nice tip. When I have to tell someone how to find a panel, I send them to the search field at top right of the window.

  4. mick says:

    Why have I never noticed this before?

  5. Dermot says:

    But you still have to explain to the newb how to change things to alphabetical ;)

  6. Joseph says:

    Also you can click customize and un-check the ones you never use.

  7. Brian says:

    I’m use to the way the Preferences are grouped since using Macs since 07. No use breaking something that works.

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