5 Replies Latest reply: May 3, 2007 11:44 AM by Pallas A
Reuben Feffer Level 2 Level 2
What's the reasoning/logic behind having all the desktop icons listed on the RIGHT side of the screen? I read and write in English, and I do that from left to right. So, to me, it would be logical to have my desktop icons on the LEFT side of the screen.

Why isn't there a desktop option to arrange the icons on either the left or right side of the screen?

17" iMac 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 250GB Hard Drive, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • Stanley Horwitz Level 4 Level 4
    You can arrange the icons on the desktop any way you want. You need to disable the Finder view option to arrange them though, but that options disabled by default.

    Why does Mac OS X place the icons on the right by default? I have no idea; however, I am so used to it being that way that I prefer it. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most people are right handed.
  • Francine Schwieder Level 6 Level 6
    Yes, it is a legacy from when Apple actually consulted and implemented its own Human Interface Guidelines, some of which were based on studies/theories (Fitts' Law) of what is easiest to hit with the mouse for right handers. As I recall, the primo location for "hitablility" was the lower right corner, which was where Apple originally had the Trash (mine is still there, because the theory works). For some entertaining reading on various design bugs, see Bruce Tagnazzini's web site:


    He really really hates the Dock--lists it as Bug #3 in worst design bugs.

  • Reuben Feffer Level 2 Level 2
    Ok thanks.

    It just seems a bit weird to have your Desktop items arranged in Name order, but starting in the top-right corner and then going down and to the left. If you could reverse the order of items, so choose betwen ascending or descending, it would be nicer.
  • Robbie Goodwin Level 6 Level 6
    Hey Guys,

    Sorry to come late, and two quite separate extras:

    As Stanley says you can arrange anything where you like, but I think Finder will put the disk icons back - after the Startup Disk, in at least semi-random order - in the topmost rightmost free spaces at every Restart, unless you use a third-party utility to lock them. I can't recommend one simply because I've never thought that was worth doing.

    I think Francine is right about the HIG, and I think we're all mistaken in thinking that we read from left to right. I don't remember the source for this and I do recall being told that while we think we read from left to right, and while it makes much less practical difference after the first line of text, our eyes actually want to scan from right to left - which is why almost every publication charging for advertising will charge more a right hand page, for one thing.
  • Pallas A Level 1 Level 1
    I've always liked the icons on the right side.
    It means that I can have a document open (which defaults to the left side) and still see my desktop icons.
    Personally though, I like to always have a Finder window open to get to things and not clutter up my desktop w/ any icons at all. I find it much cleaner.

    PowerBook G4   Mac OS X (10.3.8)