Along with a new screenshot utility, another tentpole feature found in macOS Mojave are stacks. Designed especially for the desktop, stacks allow you to instantly clean up a cluttered desktop work space with just a few mouse clicks. Watch our video for a hands-on walkthrough on how to use stacks in macOS Mojave.

What are Stacks?

Stacks are group of files on the desktop that instantly expand and collapse with a single mouse click. Aimed at helping users keep the desktop clutter-free, stacks can be grouped by Kind, Date Last Opened, Date Added, Date Modified, Date Created, or Tags.

New files added to the desktop are automatically filtered into an appropriate stack if the feature is enabled. When disabled, all of the files grouped into stacks will be placed in their original position on the desktop.

Video walkthrough

Subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more videos

How to enable stacks in macOS Mojave

Right-click on the desktop and select Use Stacks. If you have multiple eligible files on your desktop of the same type, those files will be automatically grouped in a stack. You can also use View → Use Stacks from the Finder menu bar to enable stacks on the desktop.

How to choose how stacks are grouped

When stacks are enabled, an additional option — Group Stacks By — will appear when you right click on the desktop. You can also use ViewGroup Stacks By in the Finder menu bar. From there, select one of the following grouping options:

  • Kind
  • Date Last Opened
  • Date Added
  • Date Modified
  • Date Created
  • Tags

Different kinds of stacks

By default, stacks are grouped by kind. Kinds include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Screenshots
  • Images
  • Movies
  • PDF Documents
  • Documents
  • Developer
  • Other

How folders work with stacks

Unlike files, folders do not get grouped in stacks. Folders appear beneath all of the stacks on your desktop.

How to open and close stacks

To open a stack simply click on it once with your cursor. Once a stack is opened, all files that are a part of that stack appear on the desktop below the main stack folder (denoted by the folder with the down arrow icon). To close a stack, simply click the stack folder icon.

How to view the contents of a stack without opening

You can easily scrub through stacks to see what’s inside without expanding the stack on your desktop. To do so, swipe left or right on the stack with your cursor to cycle through its contents. While swiping through, the stack will display each file contained inside along with the file name.

Once you land on the particular file that you’re looking for, you can double-click the file to open just that one file, or press the space bar to engage Quick Look to briefly view the file.

Performing actions on all files in a stack

Finder actions — such as renaming, sharing, or compressing — can be performed on all files in a stack simultaneously. Simply right-click on the stack and select the appropriate action, such as rename, compress, etc. You can also take advantage of new Quick Actions in macOS Mojave, which reside under the Quick Actions section when right clicking on a Finder item or stack.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts on stacks of items on the desktop. For example, use Command (⌘) + R to rotate all items right in a stack.

How to show how many items are in a stack

Right-click on the desktop and select Show View Options. Click Show item info to display the amount of files within a stack.

How to sort items within stacks

You can take it a step further and sort items within stacks by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Show View Options. Click the drop down menu next to Sort By to select a method for sorting within individual stacks. Sort options include:

  • Name
  • Kind
  • Date Last Opened
  • Date Added
  • Date Modified
  • Date Created
  • Size
  • Tags


Stacks are a great way to quickly tidy up a desktop with just a few clicks. It’s a feature that I’ve had enabled since Mojave launched, and one that I plan to keep using going forward. I’ve always struggled to keep my desktop looking neat, but having stacks makes it easy.

What are your thoughts on using stacks in macOS Mojave? Do you have any additional tips or suggestions to share? Leave your feedback down below in the comments section.

Special thanks to MacPaw, creators of CleanMyMac X, for sponsoring our macOS screenshots walkthrough.


FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.