Smart Folders in OSX Lion do live up to their name. They are really intelligent and they are really fast! A Smart Folder is an indexing folder that is given a criterion. If any of the files falls under that criterion it is index and added to the results of that Smart Folder. It indexes so that it gathers your files visually in one spot even though physically they are in different locations. And together with Labels, they can form a very powerful organization tool.
I have to admit when Smart Folders came about I thought that they were kinda not smart enough for me. They did not live up to the premise. Luckily OSX Lion now debuts a very much improved Smart Folder function. All My Files is actually a built-in default smart folder and it’s fantastic. (There is a separate post on All My Files)
To make your own Smart Folder, launch Finder and select New Smart Folder. Alternatively, press Option + Command + N. The next thing you do is to set up the criterion or criteria for your smart folder. Select how wide search and indexing grid by choosing from either This Mac, which will search your entire computer, or All My Files, which will restrict it to your Home Folder.
One the right side of the Smart Folder, you will find the Save and + buttons. Press + to access the dropdown search parameters that will be seen on the left side. For example if you want to search for photos you can first select Kind, meaning it will search the kind of file, then narrow it down further to the kind of file that you want, such as images, and then name a specific file format, let’s say JPEG. And remember what I said earlier about labels? You also can set up the criteria to show a particular label.
You can keep on adding search criteria by repeatedly pressing the + button. The combinations are endless and it is up to you to choose how narrow or wide your search parameters will be. Once you are satisfied, click Save to name and select the destination of your Smart folder. I normally put them on my desktop to quickly access it.
When you open that smart folder, it will show you the current results and you can click on the file to open it. Right click and selecting Show Original will take you to the destination folders. Indexing is in real time so even if you have new files, it will automatically show if it’s within the parameters.