How to Customize Mac OS Sidebar?

How to Customize Mac Sidebar

In this article, I’m going to show you the customization of Mac OS X El Capitan sidebar. As you can Customize the Windows operating system sidebar. You can apply or do it on Mac environment as well. When you open Finder for the first time, the sidebar sports its default appearance. The icons (as found in OS X El Capitan) are a mute gray and those that are displayed are the ones that Apple assumes you’ll use most, so you can get to your applications, documents, desktop, and so forth. To customize Mac OS sidebar, read the article cautiously.
You can’t get to any places that contain system files, but we’ll show you how to add new shortcuts in a bit.

Customize Mac OS Sidebar

#1. Resize Mac Sidebar icons

In Mac OS X El Capitan, you can resize Mac sidebar icon to small, medium, and large size. Mac allows you to do some customization to the finder sidebar. Some people may don’t like small icons to the Mac OS sidebar and some people like small icons. Some people like medium or large icons on the finder sidebar. Now, I’m going to show you all the possible ways to resize Mac sidebar icons. Follow the instructions carefully.

Step #1. Go to Apple icon the top left-hand side. Choose “System Preferences“.

System Preferences

System Preferences

Step #2. A new window will pop up. Click on the “General“.

Resize Mac OS Sidebar

General Settings

Step #3. In the general tab, you can do lots of customization among them sidebar icon size. You have three options to select. The first option is “Small” sidebar icons.

How to Customize Mac OS Sidebar

Small Sidebar Size

The second option is medium sidebar icons. Select the “Medium” icon the see the finder sidebar. All the icons will change to the medium size.

How to Customize Mac OS Sidebar

Medium Sidebar Size

The third option is large size icon. Just choose the “Large” icon then the Mac OS sidebar icons automatically will change to the large size. You can see every option on the sidebar very clearly.

How to Customize Mac OS Sidebar

Large Sidebar Size

#2. Restore Missing Sidebar on Mac

Sometimes the Mac sidebar missing and you’ll not be able to see the sidebar. If you want to restore missing sidebar on Mac, close all finder windows so when you click the finder icon it opens a new finder window, one with no sidebar. Then go View> Show Toolbar then once the toolbar is enabled, the view or hide sidebar toggle becomes activated in that same menu.

How to Customize Mac OS Sidebar

Show Mac Sidebar

#3. Number of iTems to Show on the Sidebar

You can minimize or maximize the number of items to show on the sidebar. To minimize or maximize the number of items to be shown the Mac sidebar, go to “Finder” tab then choose “Preferences“.

Restore Missing Mac Sidebar

Restore Missing Mac Sidebar

A large portrait window will appear and check the items that you want to show on the sidebar.

Mac Sidebar Settings

Mac Sidebar Settings


This was the simple way of Mac sidebar customization. If you did not understand any step, feel free to share with us. This was how to customize Mac OS sidebar and this was the simple way of Mac sidebar customization.


Mukhtar Jafari is the founder and CEO of He is CISCO CCENT & CCNA Certified and has got his diploma in IT Networking from North Metro TAFE PERTH. He is currently working as a Help Desk Technician at DEEPTECH Perth Western Australia. In addition, he loves helping other tech enthusiasts so he is working part-time on He shares his experience through this website for IT beginners.

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