- 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-
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.
- 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.)