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How to Create Smart Folders on Mac – Guide
Smart folders automatically locate and organize files on your Mac based on your search criteria. Because these folders are constantly updated, they can save a lot of time and effort. For example, you can create a smart folder that shows the most recent documents created in the previous month, all files on your computer above a certain size, and even all the music on your hard drive at a certain rate. Let’s take a look at how to create a smart folder.
Note that smart folders do not store files that meet your search rules in a separate folder; your files remain where you originally stored them. A smart folder is more like an index that collects files by type and keywords and indicates the actual files.back to menu ↑
Where you can define Up Smart folders?
Smart Folders work in most Mac applications. The most common places where you use Smart Folders are Finder, Mail, iTunes and Contacts. Any application on your Mac that works with many items usually has a smart folder option. For example, the popular password management program 1Password supports Smart Folders. Contacts will call them Smart Groups instead of folders. Look for the “smart” option in your programs.back to menu ↑
Getting started: Creating a smart folder in the Finder
In this example, I will use the Finder to find all the .pdf files in my Downloads folder. Searching the entire hard drive for a .pdf can bring up many results. This folder allows me to quickly find what I need. In most Mac programs, the Smart Folder option is in the New Menu. When you create this folder, it opens up a search window.
The first thing you should tell your Mac is where to look for the item. By default, it searches for This Mac. If you want it to search for a specific folder or volume, create your smart folder when you’re in that folder. In this example, I started in Downloads, so I’m going to choose that option.
Then, look at the plus icon just below the search balloon on the right side of the window. Click the plus sign to create search criteria.
The Finder then offers two options. The first option is the type of attribute you are looking for. The next field or fields are the details of that attribute. In this example, we want to find files based on the type of attribute. The specific details of this type of file is a PDF file. For this smart folder, we’ll define Kind as PDF.
The Finder places a drop-down menu on both sides of the word É. You can search for files with the name of PDF, but that means that if you named the file wrong, it will not be shown up. Attribute search offers better results.
Smart Folders allow you to search based on more than one option. If I want to find a recent large PDF, I can specify the size as an attribute. After clicking on the plus icon, I get more options for attributes.
In this example, I’m going to choose Other and get a huge list of things that I can search for. Fortunately, I can search through all of these options.
I will put Size and the Finder will show me all the size attributes. I will choose the file size. If I want to save time in the future, I can choose No Menu so that I always see it as an option without going to other people.
Here, I will put the file size and then select it is larger than in the middle field. For the size, I will put 1 and select MB, so I know they are larger PDFs.back to menu ↑
Smart Folder Top Ideasback to menu ↑
Find large files on your hard drive
If your Mac has a solid state drive, you don’t have the capability of a mechanical drive. Eventually, you will start running out of space on your hard drive. If you need to find out what’s going on up all the space, create a smart folder of large files.
In the Finder, go to File-> New Smart Folder. Select File size from the first drop-down menu. So, in the middle, the choice is greater than. For the final field, I set mine to 1 GB. This will find all files larger than 1 gigabyte. These are probably disk images that I can get rid of. Large files is a suggested name for this smart folder.back to menu ↑
Find installer files – .DMG
While some installers have clear names, others are somewhat enigmatic (Microsoft, I’m looking for you!) If I don’t know the name of the installer, I will have trouble finding it. After seeing the name, I will probably understand what I am looking for. I will create a smart folder with the left menu as the file extension.
Unless you have recently chosen this option, you will have to select Other. In the other options, select File extension. Then, set the next field to DMG. DMG is the file format for most of the Apple installer files.
I probably won’t remember yet that X16-92852-EN is Office for Mac, but with a short list of installers, the odds are in my favor. You can label these files from the Smart Folder Installer.back to menu ↑
Files downloaded from a URL
I download my invoice every month from my mobile provider, but I can’t always find it. Like the installers, the name is not descriptive enough for me. The bonus with this Smart Folder is that it also searches for email attachments. You will need to review the other options again when configuring up the search.
This time, you want to choose where. Then choose the matches and the source of the file. In this example, I want all files from att.com. Here’s my account from last month!back to menu ↑
All recipes from an online supplier
Remember that the “smart” idea works in other Apple programs. My mailbox is full of receipts from Amazon, Newegg and other major online suppliers. When I want to find a receipt quickly, just look at one of my smart mailboxes. In Apple’s Mail program, go to Mailbox-> New Smart Mailbox.
In Mail, you have more options to define up researches. In this example, I want all of my purchases from Amazon in a smart mailbox. In the search field on the left, select From and, in the middle, select contains. In the last field, enter the name of the company from which the receipt comes. In this case, it’s Amazon.com.back to menu ↑
Smart contact folders
The “smart” concept in contacts is Smart Groups. In contacts, I created a group for everyone in a certain company. This helps when I can remember where the person works, but I can’t remember their name. I could search for my contacts, but if I do that often, a smart group will save me time. To create a Smart Group, choose New Smart Group from the Contacts menu.back to menu ↑
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