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Corral the clutter on your Mac's desktop with Desktop Groups

If an ever-expanding army of files and folders is marching its way across your once pristine desktop, Desktop Groups can help clean up the mess.

Desktop Groups does for Macs what Fences does for PCs. It lets you create tiles (aka groups) on your desktop that keep an otherwise scattered group of files and folders neat and tidy.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

You'll find two versions of Desktop Groups in the Mac App Store. The free Desktop Groups Lite lets you create up to five groups; the full version ($5.99) lets you create as many groups as you desire and provides additional viewing options (such as a list in addition to the default thumbnail view).

To get started, launch the app for the first time, click the Start button, and the app will ask to create a new folder on your desktop, which it uses to store the files in your groups. To create a new group, select Group from the top menu and then click New Group.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

A new group will be placed on your desktop, which you can drag to any spot. To move an existing group, grab the top bar of the group and drag it to a new spot. I accidentally created a group at the top of my desktop, with its top bar hidden below my desktop's menu bar. I couldn't grab the group's bar to move it down, so I had to close it and open a new group. Also, you must empty a group before you can close it.

You can simply drag and drop files and folders into and out of groups, or from one group to another. One group I created, however, refused to let me drag files or folders back to the desktop. I couldn't figure out a way to empty it in order to delete it, until I discovered I could drag the files and folders into another group and then back to the desktop, which allowed me to free the files this group was holding hostage and close the group.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

To close (read: delete) a group, hover over a group, click the triangle button in the upper-right corner, and select Close Group. From this same menu, you can also select Show View Options, which lets you adjust the icon size and grid spacing for a group.

Groups themselves can also be resized, and they are also scrollable, which lets you dump a large group of files and folders into a tile without it needing to take up a huge amount of desktop real estate. To resize a group, position your cursor on an edge or corner and drag. Highlight a file or folder in a group and hit the spacebar or Command-Y and you'll get a quick view.

If Desktop Groups sounds like too much work, then just pull down the Shade.

(Via AddictiveTips)