Working with Smart Folders in Mac OS X Lion - dummies

Working with Smart Folders in Mac OS X Lion

By Bob LeVitus

Smart Folders let you save search criteria in Mac OS X Lion and then tell them to work in the background to reflect those criteria in real time. In other words, Mac OS X Lion Smart Folders are updated continuously, so they display all the files on your computer that currently match the search criteria.


Smart Folders are so useful that Apple provides five ways to create one:

  1. Start your Smart Folder by using any of the following methods:

    • Choose File→New Smart Folder .

    • Press Command+Option+N.

    • Choose File→Find.

    • Press Command+F.

    • Type at least one character in the Search box of a Finder window.

    If you have All My Files selected in the Sidebar, you can’t use the last method, because All My Files is a Smart Folder — a Smart Folder with a weird icon, but a Smart Folder nonetheless.

  2. Refine the criteria for your search by clicking the + button to add a criterion or the – button to delete one.

  3. When you’re satisfied and ready to turn your criteria into a Smart Folder, click the Save button below the Search box.

  4. Choose where you want to save your folder.

    While the Save sheet is displayed, you can add the Smart Folder to the Sidebar, if you like, by clicking the Add to Sidebar check box.

  5. When you’re finished editing criteria, click the Save button to save the folder with its criteria.

    After you create your Smart Folder, you can save it anywhere on any hard drive and then use it like any other folder. There’s also an option to display it in your Sidebar.