What is a Smart Folder?


Updated: 12/30/2019 by Computer Hope

Introduced to macOS in 2005, a Smart Folder is a type of file folder that automatically adds files based on user-defined criteria. When a Smart Folder is created, a menu appears for the user to choose what type of files to add to the folder. It then uses the Spotlight search function to filter out files from the entirety of the computer and add all matching files to the Smart Folder. Smart Folders can sort files by file type, file name, file contents, or by a range of last opened, last modified, or created dates.

Creating a Smart Folder

To create a Smart Folder on a Macintosh computer:

  1. Make sure the Finder is open.
  2. Select File from the menu bar.
  3. Select New Smart Folder.
  4. In the folder, select the macOS plus button button from the top-right corner to add a new search parameter.
  5. Edit the search parameter using the drop-down list to select categories and specifics.

Multiple criteria can be applied to a single Smart Folder to narrow down files further. For example, if the file type is set to images, and the name must include the phrase “screenshot,” then this creates a Smart Folder with every screenshot.

Apple terms, Finder, Parameter

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