Can My Mac Preview Sort Thumbnails By Creation Date?

Thursday, March 13, 2008 by Mistlee

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Can My Mac Preview Sort Thumbnails By Creation Date?

By Dave Taylor

I know this is a pretty niche question, but I use Apple's slick Preview application to look at images and when I open more than one at a time, it shows them all with a nice sidebar, but the sidebar elements are sorted by name, which messed me up: I want them sorted by when I actually created the graphic.

Dave's Answer:

Preview is definitely one of the unsung applications of the Mac OS X system, a simple application that on first blush looks like it's just a photo and graphic display application, but is really quite a bit more powerful.

You're not alone, by the way, I also use Preview to help me organize screen shots for articles I write on this very blog. And because of that, I can show you exactly how to sort your multi-image sidebar by name, date, size, path, kind of file or keyword.

Remember, Preview can display quite a bit more than just images, too. You can hand it PDF files, audio, movies, and quite a bit more. Very helpful!

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So here's a typical Preview view with a bunch of images opened (which you can do by selecting a group and then opening them all at once):

You can see that I have six images loaded into Preview, and by default, they're sorted in name order. Not what we want.

To change the ordering, you need to click on the little triangle adjacent to the gear on the lower right. It pops up a menu with Sort By... and there you can see exactly what you want:

Choose "Date" and, voila! You have a Preview multi-image view that has the thumbnails sorted by creation date!


About the Author:
Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is internationally known as an expert on both business and technology issues. Holder of an MSEd and MBA, author of twenty books and founder of four startups, he also runs a strategic marketing company and consults with firms seeking the best approach to working with weblogs and social networks. Dave is an award-winning speaker and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs.

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