File Management for the MAC


Understanding file management is important because it will help you organize, store and retrieve files and folders efficiently.

In this tutorial sheet you will learn how to:

  1. Navigate through folders on a your computer
  2. Create a folder
  3. Open a folder
  4. Delete a folder
  5. Copy a folder
  6. Rename a folder
  7. Find a folder

Software Needed

Mac OS 10.4

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills

Before beginning this tutorial please make sure that you have completed the mouse and desktop tutorials.



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Lesson 1:Navigating through Folders

Whenever you save a file on your computer, you are saving it to the computer’s hard drive. The hard drive on your computer is usually the C: drive. To keep your files organized they are stored in folders . To keep the folders organized they are stored hierarchically. Below is a map of a hierarchical structure of folders. The map shows 4 folders stored within the top folder. Inside the first of the four folders there are 3 documents. The important ideas are that to get to a lower level document you have to navigate through and open the higher level folders because lower level folders (and files) are stored within a higher level folder.

A common metaphor used when talking about how files are organized is the filing cabinet. The filing cabinet metaphor is useful because it demonstrates that there is a top level drawer (this would be the folder at the top of our map above) and within that is a folder. A folder can hold another folder or it can hold a series of documents. The important thing to remember is that to get to a document in a folder you have to navigate through the filing cabinet by opening the drawer, opening the folder, and then pulling out your file.

Like many things on a computer there are multiple ways to perform the same task. This tutorial will show you how to use Windows Explorer to navigate to a folder.


Activity 1: Navigating through Folders Using Windows Explorer to Create a New Folder

In this activity you will be navigating through your folders (directory structure) to find a folder. You will be opening a higher level folder to view the contents of a lower level folder.

1. The Finder menu bar is the default menu bar for your desktop. If you do not see the menu bar click on any empty space on your desktop. Click on the Go dropdown menu and select Computer.

2. Once you open the window for your Computer, You should see a window similar to the one below. To view the contents of your hard drive double click on the icon for Macintosh HD.

3. You will now see a window similar to the window below. To create a new folder within your Documents folder, double click on the Documents folder to open the folder. Once you have opened the folder the word “Documents" will appear in the title bar and the contents of the Documents folder will appear in the content pane.

4. Once you have opened the Documents folder you will create a new folder within the Documents folder by going to the Finder menu and clicking once on File. Then scroll down and click once on New Folder.

5. A new folder will appear with the default name “Untitled” in the content pane for your Documents folder. However, you will notice that there is a rectangle around the name “Untitled Folder” and that the text is highlighted. The rectangle around the name means that you can rename the folder. When the entire name of the folder (Untitled) is highlighted that means when you type your new name it will automatically remove and type over the old folder name.

Name your folder Coursework.

6. You will now create another folder inside of the Coursework folder. Select your new folder (Coursework) by clicking twice on the title of your new folder (Coursework). The content pane should now be blank and Coursework should appear in the title bar.

7. In the Finder menu go to File> New Folder (See step #4 above)

8. Title your new folder CEP 810 (See step #5 above)


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Lesson 2: Copying and Pasting Folder or File

It is important to know how to copy a file because you can back up a file by copying the file and pasting a copy onto an external storage device. You could also move a file by copying the file and pasting it in a new location. There are multiple ways to copy a file. Below is one way to copy a file. Please read the sidebar for additional ways to copy a file.


Activity 1: Copying and Pasting a Folder

1. In the content pane once on the “CEP 810” folder so that it is highlighted . (Remember your “CEP 810” folder is located inside of your “Coursework” folder and the Coursework folder is inside the Documents folder.)

2. Go to the Finder menu and click once on Edit. Then scroll down and click on Copy.

3. To paste the file into another folder, locate and open the folder you want to paste the file into. We are going to paste the folder onto the desktop.

a. Click on the Desktop.
b. Then go to the main Finder menu and select Edit.
c. Then click on Paste.


Lesson 3: Renaming a Folder or File

An interesting fact about file management is that you cannot have two files or folders with the same name at the same level, in the same folder. You can only have folders with the same name if they are at different levels in your directory structure (folder directory). For this reason you may have to rename a file. We are going to rename the CEP 810 folder on your desktop.



Activity 1: Renaming a Folder

1. Click once on the name of the folder “CEP 810” on the desktop (hold the mouse button down for 3 sec). A blue rectangular box should appear around the name of the folder.

2. Rename your folder "Discard". (We are going to delete this folder in the next activity)

Lesson 4: Deleting a Folder or File

For this lesson it is really important that you have already gone through the Desktop tutorial. The Desktop tutorial will demonstrate how to access the Recycle bin. You have to be very careful when deleting a folder or file. There are multiple ways to delete a file please read the sidebar for more information.


Activity 1: Deleting a Folder

1. On your desktop click once on the folder “Discard”. Hold the mouse button down and drag the folder to the Trash icon in the Dock bar. When the "Discard" folder is over the Trash icon, the icon will appear darker. Release the mouse button to move the "Discard" folder into the Trash folder.


Lesson 5: Finding a Folder

To find a file, you need to perform a Search. The search function in Windows can search file names or even the text within a file.






Activity 1: Searching for a Folder

1. To search for a file, go to the Finder menu and click on Go. Then click on Computer. (See Step 1 of Lesson 1)

2. You can also perform a search by in the Search box and typing the name of the file or folder you wish to search for. Type CEP 810 in the search box.

3. Double click on the “CEP 810” folder that is at the top. CEP 810 should now appear in the title bar, indicating that the content pane is displaying the contents of that folder.




Wrap Up:

In this tutorial, you have learned how to navigate through your folders and files. (This is also called navigating the directory structure). You have also learned about opening, deleting, copying, and finding folders. Knowing what a directory path is and how to navigate a directory is an important skill for creating web pages. Therefore, this concept will be revisited when we talk about how to create a web page.