Here’s how to change folder color on Mac

9 min read
Your Mac relies on a calming shade of blue for all folders. It’s fine for a few folders, but those of us who create multiple folders and subfolders end up awash in a sea of cyan.

Instead of reading folder names, you can change your Mac’s folder icons or colors, making it easier to find the documents you need quickly. It also livens up your Mac’s home screen or Finder.

In this article, we’ll show you how to change folder color on Mac, change Mac folder icon for easier navigation, and discuss the best ways to accomplish both tasks.

Task Steps
Quickest way to change folder icons Open Image2icon > Drag an image to Image2icon > Choose icon shape > Drag folder to Image2icon
Change folder icon manually Right-click folder > Get Info > Copy image > Paste image into folder icon in the Get Info window
Change folder color using Preview Right-click folder > Get Info > Copy folder icon > Open Preview > File > New from Clipboard > Tools > Adjust Color > Copy adjusted icon > Paste icon into folder icon in Get Info window
Change folder background Open folder > View > As Icons > View > Show View Options > Choose Color or Picture under Background
Color code folders using tags Right-click folder > Tags > Select color tag

One-click solution to change folder icon on Mac

Customizing folder icons on a Mac can add a touch of personalization and make file organization a visually appealing experience. While the process may seem complex, there is a hassle-free solution available called Image2icon

All you need to do is follow two simple steps. So here’s how to change folder icon on Mac with Image2icon:

  1. Drag an image you want to use as a folder icon to the Image2icon

    drop an image to create an icon with image2icon

  2. Then choose the shape of your icon and drag the folder you want to use the image for into Image2icon.

    image2icon icon settings macos

Done. Your folder is now a unique representation of its contents (or your personal visual concept for your digital workspace). That’s it!

You can also revert any folder to its original icon by clicking the Restore tab in the app.

How to change folder icon on Mac manually

If you want to learn how to change file icon on Mac using methods other than third-party apps, try the instructions below. But keep in mind that it’s a much longer process than we described above.

Here’s how to change file icon on Mac manually:

  1. Create a folder on your desktop by right-clicking on the desktop
  2. Choose New Folder from the menu
  3. Name your folder
  4. Find an image from the web that you’d like to use as your folder icon (Note: macOS is picky about which images it will allow. PNG files are the most successful but may not always work)
  5. Download the image to your Mac
  6. Right-click on the image and click Copy
  7. Right-click the folder you created on your desktop
  8. Choose Get Info
  9. In the menu that appears, choose the folder icon. (Note: It will have a dark blue line around it to indicate that it’s selected)
  10. With the icon selected, click Edit in the menu bar
  11. Click Paste.

change mac folder color

How to change folder color on Mac using Preview

Can you change folder color on Mac? Absolutely! While there are several apps available for this task, Mac users can take advantage of a built-in tool called Preview.

Here’s how to change folder color on Mac with the help of Preview:

  1. Right-click the folder you want to customize and choose Get Info
  2. In the Info window, click on the thumbnail of the folder icon and press Command + C to copy it
  3. Open Preview, go to File > New from Clipboard
  4. Adjust the color using the menu Tools > Adjust Color
  5. Choose the modified image, press Command + C to copy it
  6. Return to the folder info window and select the thumbnail of the folder icon
  7. Press Command + V to paste the modified icon
  8. Close the Info window to see the updated folder color.

change folder color using preview

Change folder background

Did you know that your Mac gives you the ability to change the background for different folders in Finder? You can choose a solid color or even an image to give each folder a distinct theme. And it’s pretty easy to do. We’ll show you how.

Here’s how to change the background of a folder in Finder on your Mac:

  1. Open the folder you want to customize
  2. Click View in the menu bar and make sure As Icons is selected
  3. Then click View > Show View Options
  4. In the Background section, choose either Color or Picture
  5. Next, click the square next to Color or Picture and and set a color or image. You can also drag and drop an image onto the selection square.
change folder background mac

Color your folders on Mac using tags

Can you change the color of folders on Mac in some other way than described above? Yes, you can easily color code your folders for better visual identification with the help of Tags. This simple macOS feature allows you to assign specific colors to your folders. 

Here’s how to color code your folders using tags on a Mac:

  1. Choose the folder you want to color code
  2. Right-click or control-click the folder, and then choose Tags from the shortcut menu
  3. In the Tags menu, you’ll see a list of available colors. Click on the color you want to assign to the folder. The selected color will be applied as a tag to the folder, and you’ll see a small dot representing the tag next to the folder’s name.

color folders mac tags

Bonus tips for organizing your Mac

Organizing folders with snappy colors and changing icons on a Mac is a great way to stay focused. In addition, we recommend you try a few powerful tools that offer unique functionalities and can contribute to a more efficient and clutter-free digital environment, making your life easier and enhancing your overall Mac experience.

For example, with Spotless, you can create and manage custom rules to automatically sort files into specific folders based on criteria such as file type, keyword, or extension. This intelligent file organizer saves you valuable time that would otherwise be spent manually organizing files and making sure everything is in its proper place.

spotless mac

Another handy app to try is called Trickster. It lives in your Mac menu bar, tracking every file, folder, and app you’re working on or have opened recently. Trickster can automatically track your desktop activity, but you’re also able to manually configure it to track only the items you want; file types, names, destinations, and folders can be targeted with Trickster.

trickster macos

In addition to finding your favorite files and folders, Trickster lets you open them right from the app. It’s like Spotlight, just more proactive and customized to your needs. For keyboard warriors, Trickster supports hotkey switching to really speed up your workflow.

Organization matters, but so does keeping your Mac healthy. Adjusting files, folders, and documents can cause a lot of unnecessary data to pile up on your Mac. This is why you should have CleanMyMac X.

The app keeps your Mac clear of unnecessary files, thwarts privacy threats, and speeds it up with its incredible Smart Scan module. Smart Scan helps you identify and clear up the simplest issues, but CleanMyMac X goes so much further.

cmm mac

Erasing malware, clearing your cache, optimizing your file system for faster content discovery, uninstalling or updating apps – all easy work for CleanMyMac X. It even helps you thin out downloads and mail attachments from dominating your Mac’s storage space.

Transform your Mac experience: Change Mac folder icon and color with ease

A sea of blue folders is boring, so why not liven them up with custom icons and colors? Image2icon is a great app for those who enjoy colorful folders that reflect their ideas, content, and provide additional inspiration. Custom folder icons help identify what any folder is at a glance. 

Other apps we’ve mentioned, Spotless and Trickster, help you stay productive, saving you tons of time wasted searching for files on your desktop or beyond. CleanMyMac X is simply the best tool for ensuring your Mac stays performant.

All of these apps, as well as nearly 240 more, are available for free during a seven-day trial of Setapp, an amazing platform of apps for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. During your week-long trial, you can try all of the apps you want without paying a dime. When the trial ends, continued access to the full Setapp catalog is only $9.99 per month.

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How do I make a folder aesthetic on Mac?

To make a folder aesthetic on Mac, you can change its appearance by customizing the folder color and icon. With the app called Image2icon, you can even add your own pictures and customize them the way you like. Simply drop any picture into the app window to create an icon. Then you can choose one of the icon templates like folders, drives, or shapes.

What app can I use to change the color of my folders on Mac?

It’s possible to change the color of your folders on Mac manually using built-in tools like Preview or third-party apps like Image2icon. With Preview, you can open an image of the desired color, adjust its hue and saturation, and save it as an icon file. Then, using the Get Info option for a folder, you can paste the new icon using the clipboard. Another option is to use an app like Image2icon, which allows you to create custom icons from images and apply them to folders, providing a convenient way to change their colors.

Why can’t I change the color of my folders on Mac?

This may happen due to some glitches, wrong settings, etc. Make sure your macOS is up to date, try restarting your Mac, or try to set the icon in Safe Mode.

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