The Finder in OS X El Capitan has four ways to view your files: icon view, list view, column view, and Cover Flow view. But it also gives you many ways to arrange files within those views. There are options such as Arrange By, Sort By, and Clean Up By in the Finder’s various menus. Unfortunately, it’s not obvious what each of these options means.
The three sorting tools do have three distinct functions: Arrange By lets you organize files into groups. The Sort By option lets you choose how your files are sorted (by name, date, etc.). And Clean Up By lets you tidy up messy windows or your Desktop. But the three options aren’t always available in all Finder views. Sometimes you can combine them; sometimes you can’t. There are multiple ways of invoking them. In other words, they aren’t Apple’s smoothest bit of interface design. But here’s a rough guide to the way they work.
Read the rest of the article on Macworld.