Together Tip: Groups vs Folders

Occasionally I am asked to explain the difference between groups and folders in Together. I might be able to boil this down for the FAQ, but here is a full explanation.

Together has two ways of collecting files together, groups and folders. In a nutshell, folders work the same as in the Finder, while groups work like iTunes playlists.

Groups were introduced in version 1.0 to support the point of Together, in that you do not need to file items into folders because they always appear in your library. Folders were added to version 2.0 because sometimes the folder structure is important to the files being stored and because some people were accustomed to that way of working.


Folders in Together work exactly like folders in the Finder, and that’s exactly what they are. A file can only exist in one folder at a time, adding a file to that folder moves it there and removing a file from a folder moves it to Together’s Trash and removes it from Together’s library and any groups or smart groups. Removing the folder moves the folder and its entire contents to the Trash.


Groups work like iTunes playlists and are very different to folders. Groups cannot be arranged hierarchically. A file can appear in more than one group at a time. Adding a file to a group adds a reference to that file, and removing a file from a group or removing the group itself doesn’t change anything else. Groups will always keep track of files, no matter where they are stored.

Using Groups and Folders

How you want to use these is up to you. Folders, as mentioned, are good when you want or need to organize files hierarchically, while groups allow you to create loose collections and removes the limitation of only being able to see a file in a single place. You can’t mix groups and folders in a hierarchy because they’re pretty incompatible in terms of what is stored where.

Groups are ideal for research, where you can collect a number of documents from different locations into once place, without moving the files from their original locations. Once you’re finished with the group, you can just remove it without removing any of the files it contains.

One Response to “Together Tip: Groups vs Folders”

  1. laurent Says:

    it would be absolutely fantastic if we could synchronise with .mac groups. since we may use several macs for research purposes. Thank you for taking this into consideration