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Four Finder timesavers every smart Mac user should know

Topher Kessler | Aug. 14, 2014
For some users, "organizing files" in the Finder begins and ends with creating folders and moving files into them. But there are a bunch of other things you can do to manage your files in OS X that, whatever your workflow, will make things way easier.

For some users, "organizing files" in the Finder begins and ends with creating folders and moving files into them. But there are a bunch of other things you can do to manage your files in OS X that, whatever your workflow, will make things way easier.

Smart folders

When you perform a standard Finder search by pressing Command-F or using the search bar in any Finder window, you can save this search as a smart folder by clicking the Save button in the top-right of the window. This will save the search as a Smart Folder which, when opened, will only show the files that match your search criteria. (You can also create smart folders by selecting New Smart Folder from the File menu.)

When performing Finder searches, you can use multiple criteria to narrow your search by clicking the Add button (+) at the top-right (next to the Save) then adding more criteria. You can use the drop-down to select specific metadata tags for narrowing your search; if you don't see the ones you want in that list, you can also choose Other to choose from many, many more.

By default, when you add new criteria to a search, the Finder will do so with And logic, meaning that files must meet all of the criteria to be included in the results. However, you might wish to specify files by excluding some criteria — by using a Not logical statement. You can implement such advanced search logic by holding the Option key down when you click the plus button to add a new criterion. When you do so, the new criterion will appear with a second line before it, which gives you the option of Any, All, or None, to specify how the new criterion (or additional criteria) will be handled in the new search.

Organize selected files into folders

Another common frustration is when you have too many files in a folder. You can always rearrange and resort the files with the Finder's view tools. But it can be more useful to arrange related files into subfolders. One way to do this is to create a folder and then drag a selection of files into it. But it's quicker to select the files you wish to group, right-click them, and then choose the New Folder Containing ## Items where ## is the number of items you've selected.

Unfortunately, this feature is limited to selected files within the current directory, so you can't use it on search results that include files from multiple folders. The workaround: Run your search, then select and drag the results to a new folder.

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