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  1. 3.4. Smart Folders You may remember from Chapter 1 (or from staring at your own computer) that the Sidebar at the left side of every Leopard desktop window contains a set of little folders under the Searches heading. Each is actually a smart folder—a self-updating folder that, in essence, performs a continual, 24/7 search for the criteria you specify. (Smart folders are a lot like smart albums in iPhoto and iTunes, smart mailboxes in Mail, and so on.) Note: In truth, the smart folder performs a search for the specified criteria at the moment you open it. But because it's so fast, and because it's always up to date, it feels as though it's been quietly searching all along. As it turns out, the ones installed there by Apple are meant to serve as inspiration for you to create your own smart folders. The key, as it turns out, is the little Save button in the upper-right corner of the Spotlight window. Here's a common example of how you might use it. (It's an example, by the way, that you can't replicate in any other operating system.) You choose File Find. You set up the pop-up menus to say "last opened date" and "this week." You click Save. You name the smart folder something like Current Crises, and you turn on "Add to Sidebar" (Figure 3- 8). Tip: Behind the scenes, smart folders that you create are actually special files that are stored in your Home Library Saved Searches folder. Figure 3-8. Mac OS X can preserve your search as a smart folder listed in the Sidebar (lower left)—at least, it does as long as "Add To Sidebar" is turned on. You can stash a smart folder in your Dock, too, although it doesn't display a stack of its contents, as normal folders do.
  2. From now on, whenever you click that smart folder, it reveals all of the files you've worked on in the last week or so. The great part is that these items' real locations may be all over the map, scattered in folders all over your Mac and your network. But through the magic of the smart folder, they appear as though they're all in one neat folder. Tip: If you decide your original search criteria need a little fine-tuning, click the smart folder. From the Action menu, choose Show Search Criteria. You're back on the original setting-up-the-search window. Use the pop-up menus and other controls to tweak your search setup, and then click the Save button once again.To delete a smart folder, just drag its icon out of the Sidebar. (Or if it's anywhere else, like on your desktop, drag it to the Trash like any other folder.)