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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 10:57 PM   #1
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Leopard Smart Folders

I'm not sure how long smart folders have been in OSX but I just discovered them recently. I saw the menu item in the Finder "New Smart Folder" but I just kind of ignored it because I didn't really know what it did and never got around to finding out.

I saw an article recently detailing how to use the smart folders in Mail.app and it clicked. Now I have a smart folder there called "Stuff to Deal With" and I just flag emails in my inbox that require further action. The flagged items show up in the smart folder. When I'm done dealing with them I unflag them and they leave the folder - quite cool.

So I was setting up a directory of files in the Finder today and I saw an opportunity to use smart folders for viewing a bunch of the files by different sets of criteria.

When I went to create a smart folder I clicked on the folder within my home folder where I wanted to keep them and clicked "New Smart Folder" in the Finder. The window that pops up shows a bar that reads "Search: This Mac" and "(the name of my Home folder)". But I wanted to restrict the search to a particular folder which is several directories beyond my home folder. I didn't want the smart folder search to go through my home folder because it would make setting search criteria to get only the files I wanted in the smart folder difficult if not impossible. I figured that there must be a way to do this.

Well after looking around the web I couldn't find a way. From what I could see it seems that you could do this in Tiger. Finally after trying out a bunch of possibilities I tried hitting Command-F while I had the folder I wanted to search selected in the finder. Only then did I get a bar in the window showing the folder I wanted the search to be restricted to. Making a .savedsearch smart folder this way isn't exactly the same as using the "New Smart Folder" command. One thing I've noticed is that for some reason I couldn't save this smart folder without the .savedsearch extension on the end, even though I had selected "hide extension" when creating it and it appears checked in the "Get Info" window.

So is it correct that Apple has downgraded the the Smart folder functionality in Leopard? According to the Apple doc for Tiger "Organizing related files with Smart Folders" it's stated that this could be done: "To limit where the Smart Folder searches, click one of the listed locations, or click Others to choose another location." In a document with the same name for Leopard, this line isn't there.

It's seems strange that there are quite a few instances in Leopard where Apple has pulled back on some functionality previously available in Tiger. Is it just that they've simply overlooked things?

Edit: Added an attachment showing what I'm blathering about. The top part shows what a "New Smart Folder" window looks like and the choices available - "This Mac" or your Home folder. The bottom part shows what you get when you click Command-F if you have a folder somewhere on your Mac called "The Folder I Want to Use".
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Last edited by GratuitousApplesauce; Dec 11th, 2007 at 11:39 PM.
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 01:02 AM   #2
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Re: Leopard Smart Folders

You're right, "Other" is no longer there. I guess someone at Apple felt it was more intuitive to have the folder (or drive, etc) that you wanted to zero in on selected first, then the "third option" appears.

This could be because Spotlight can now index/search ALL connected drives, even over a network, and Apple felt that having 10 drive names up there would be a nightmare to manage.

What's interesting to me is that if I select a drive via it's icon on the desktop and then press cmd-f, I do NOT get the option to limit my search to that drive, BUT if I select the drive name in the SIDEBAR, I do. Pity you can't choose multiple drives at a time (using the shift key), but oh well.

PS. I have Smart Folders in Mail, Address Book, Safari and iPhoto. I love em!
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 05:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
You're right, "Other" is no longer there. I guess someone at Apple felt it was more intuitive to have the folder (or drive, etc) that you wanted to zero in on selected first, then the "third option" appears.

This could be because Spotlight can now index/search ALL connected drives, even over a network, and Apple felt that having 10 drive names up there would be a nightmare to manage.
Chas, I don't know if you got it from what I was writing (pardon me if it's confusing) but if you try to make a Smart Folder using the Finder command "Make Smart Folder" or Option-Command-N there is no way to even choose anything other than "This Mac" or your Home folder. At least not one I could find.

Making a Smart Folder by bringing up a search window using Command-F or "Find" in the Finder it is still possible to choose any folder or drive, but as you say there is no "Other" button.

I have yet to reboot into Tiger to see how it works there. I never played around with Smart Folders when I used Tiger, so I'm not familiar with it there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
PS. I have Smart Folders in Mail, Address Book, Safari and iPhoto. I love em!
Yeah I'm liking them too, funny that it took me so long to check them out.
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