What are Smart Folders?

What are Smart Folders?

They are super helpful, is what!

On the Mac, Smart Folders in Finder (also Smart Playlists in iTunes, Smart Albums in iPhoto, Smart Mailboxes in Mail, Smart Groups in Address Book, etc.) are containers for files or folders that meet a certain criteria. Think of them as a permanent search.

For example, you could make a Smart Folder that shows you all the documents you’ve opened in the last 3 days, or one for all your PDFs that are bigger than 2 megabytes.

In iTunes, you could have a Smart Playlist that always has the jazz songs you’ve added this week. In iPhoto, I created a Smart Album for all the photos I’ve rated above 3 stars, and I sync that to my iPhone.

You can create a smart container in the File menu of any of these programs. You’ll immediately be presented with a dialog box that lets you pick your search criteria, stacking them with “any” (if this OR that) or “all” (if this AND that AND that).

Smart containers appear in the same list with their manual counterparts, but have a gear icon on them.

Try ’em out. They can really speed up your workflow!

Transfer an iPhoto book project to another Mac

My son is working on an iPhoto book of his trip to Belgium in May. It’s a great project for him, laying out text and pictures. He’s working on my iMac with my iPhoto Library. If he doesn’t finish before we go on vacation this week, is there any way to transfer the project to my MacBook?

To move a book project, you gotta transfer the entire iPhoto library to your MacBook, which just means that there has to be enough room. You can tell iPhoto to switch libraries by holding down the option key when you first start iPhoto (i.e. it has to not be running first). You’ll see a window like this:


If one ever needed to get fancier, one can download the $20 iPhoto Libary Manager.

This Apple thread has some more discussion.

At that point, I would consider the libary on your iMac to be off-limits until you get back home. That way, if you also choose to do any work in iPhoto once you’ve got it on your laptop, you can copy everything back to the iMac. Please make a discrete backup of the original library to your external hard drive, perhaps calling it “iPhoto Library old.” I realize Time Machine stores versions of your library, but it will start to delete older versions after a while, and I would prefer that you didn’t take the chance.