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Smart Searches in Tiger

TMO Quick Tip - Smart Searches in Tiger

by , 7:30 AM EDT, May 1st, 2006

Searching for documents and folders can get tedious, especially if you seem to be hunting for the same things over and over. For example, I always perform searches for the documents, emails and schedule items for the various projects I work on, but don't want to move each item to a centralized location just to keep what otherwise would seem to be a random collection of documents together. Instead, I rely on Tiger's Smart Folders feature to organize everything for me.

I also use Smart Folders to search for files names: something that is conspicuously absent from regular Spotlight searches. Here's how:

  • Click your Desktop to make the Finder the active application.
  • Choose File > New Smart Folder.
  • Choose Name from the Kind pop-up menu.
  • Enter the file name you are looking for in the Name search field.
  • Close the Smart Folder window to save your search, and give it a descriptive name, like "Name Search."


Choose Name as your search criteria in your new Smart Folder.

To use your file name search tool, just open your new Smart Folder, and enter the name of the file you are looking for in window's tool bar search field. Your search results appear in the same window, all nicely grouped by file type.


Smart Folders organize your search results for you.

I use a Smart Folder to track all of the documents, folders, emails and ical events associated with my soon to be released book, The Designer's Guide to Mac OS X. When I open the folder, I see everything related to the book grouped by file type: my PDFs are grouped together, text files are together, and I can see all of my Mail messages or appointments at once. Smart Folders leave your original files untouched, so you never have to worry about documents moving without your knowledge.


if you have ideas for Mac related tips that you think other TMO readers might find helpful.

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