You can save time from constantly searching to find the files you need on your Mac with a built-in tool. We’ll show you how to create a smart folder on Mac that automatically updates to include the files you need.
What is a smart folder on a Mac?
A smart folder is a folder that updates automatically. Once you set the criteria, each time a new or edited file meets the conditions, it is automatically placed in the folder.
This allows you to set up smart folders for items like files you created yesterday, files that contain a specific word, or files of a certain type, such as PDFs or images.
Also, the files are not moved to the matching Smart Folder. They can simply be accessed from the smart folder while they technically remain in their location. This allows you to quickly view related files without digging through dozens of other folders.
Let’s see how to create a smart folder on Mac and how to edit one if you change your mind.
Create a smart folder
To set up a Smart Folder on your Mac, open Finder to get started. It doesn’t matter which folder is displayed when you open Finder, unless you want to search for a particular one.
Step 1: To go Proceedings in the menu bar and select new smart folder.
Step 2: You will see a blank folder in Finder. To choose this mac at the top left, next to Searchto find files on your entire computer if you don’t want to search just the current folder.
Step 3: Use the Search at the top right to enter a word, category, file type, or date that you want to use as the first rule for the smart folder.
Select a suggestion from the dropdown that matches what you want.
Step 4: When you view the search results, you have the option to select the Plus sign to the right, next to Save money to add a rule that restricts the results.
Step 5: Use the first dropdown box on the left to choose what you want to find. It can be the name, the content, the creation date, the type or another option.
Step 6: Use the next dropdown box and subsequent field to add the corresponding attribute. These options change based on what you choose in the first dropdown box.
Here is an example. We want to find all articles that have “ABC Project” in the name using our search term. But we want to limit it to documents so we don’t see images, folders, or other items. So, for the rule, we select Guy in the first dropdown box and Document In a second.
You can add as many rules as you like. Just keep in mind that items must meet all conditions to be displayed in the smart folder.
Step 7: You’ll see the results as you add criteria. This allows you to confirm that you are receiving the expected results.
When finished, select Save money at the top right.
Step 8: Give your smart folder a name in the pop-up window.
By default, Smart Folders reside in Saved Searches on your Mac. However, you can select a different location if you wish.
Finally, you can add the folder to the Finder sidebar for easy access if you want. Check the box to Add to sidebar to do it
Step 9: When finished, select Save money to save your smart folder.
You can then go to the location of your Smart Folder to open it.
Optional: Locate Saved Searches on Mac
If you leave your Smart Folder location as the default Saved Searches on Mac, you can go here from Finder.
Step 1: Open Finder and select Let’s go > go to folder from the menu bar.
Step 2: Enter the following into the search box at the top of the pop-up window: ~/Library/Saved Searches.
Step 3: Press Return.
You will then see the Smart Searches folder open with your Smart Folder inside.
Edit a smart folder
Perhaps you want to make changes to a Smart Folder that you have created. You may want to add more rules or remove one.
Step 1: Open your smart folder.
Step 2: Select the Action drop-down menu in the Finder toolbar at the top of the window and select Show search criteria.
Step 3: You will then see your rules as when you initially created the Smart Folder. Make your changes and select Save money.
The updated rules automatically replace the original ones.
Smart Folders on Mac are convenient for quickly finding the files and other items you need. Now that you know how to create a Smart Folder on a Mac, check out how to change the folder icon on macOS as well!