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Another Smart Folder tip to access and keep track of the many files you house on your hard drive.

In a recent article on creating Smart Folders, I gave an example of how I keep track of specific items on my hard drive; large files taking up more than 50MB of space. For some file types that's an acceptable size, while for others, it's not. This Smart Folder helps me during the "spring cleaning" process that occurs every few months or so on my end.

The whole reason behind a Smart Folder is the ability to find, access or keep track of items. When working on your computer and within any program, you don't want to have to hunt and peck for files, you want to be able to find files quickly. So, I doubt if I have to convince you that some type of organization/structure for storing your files helps.

When I'm working in a specific application, say Photoshop, there is the desire to access and keep track of images that fall within certain criteria. Sometimes, that criteria is for images created within the last few, say two, months. These are usually images taken to use for class projects with my students.

I organize images by date and use Adobe Bridge to add keywords, metadata, and create Collections and (criteria driven) Smart Collections. But, with Smart Collections, in order to see images that always fall within the criteria of "the last two months", no matter the date, I'd have to be date specific in my Smart Collection search criteria and update it every day. I'd rather not have to do that. Or better said, I strongly doubt that that will happen. So, I decided to use a Smart Folder for this task.

A Smart Folder can do this heavy lifting for me. Smart Folders typically reside in and are accessed from the sidebar of the Finder window. But, since this task is Photoshop specific for me, I can also create a Smart Folder that does not reside in the sidebar of the Finder; or at least not on the surface. This Smart Folder search will be visible only from within the dialogue windows of the specific application, in this case, Photoshop. 

In this example, I've created a Smart Folder that searches for images that were taken within the last two months of today's date, today being relative. This seach will always bring up the most recent images.

To create this application specific Smart Folder from within Photoshop:

  • File > Open
  • Click inside the Open dialogue box Spotlight search field


I wanted to specifically search for .jpg images, so I entered the following text:

  • kind:image jpg

From there:

  • Selecting the Save button (at right), to then
  • Name, save and specify "Display Smart Folder for this application only"



A new "Saved Searches" category will appear in the Finder sidebar of this applications dialogue box, and will populate with all Smart Folder searches you create for this app.

I then selected the plus (+) symbol adjacent to the Save button to add more lines of criteria, and save this additional criteria.

  • Created > Within last two months

I can also use the QuickLook shortcut for viewing files while in this dialogue.

I don't have to open or save a file, when I'm done creating the Smart Folder criteria, I can select cancel, the criteria stays put.

When re-entering this dialogue box, selecting any of the "Saved Searches" Smart Folders:

  • Will again show you the Smart Folder results
  • Will display an "Edit" button where the Save button used to be, for you to Edit the criteria

To delete an Application Specific Smart Folder:

  • Drag it out from the "Saved Searches" category in the sidebar while within the app dialogue box

Smart Folders, once again, allow me great flexible ways to access my content.


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