HoudahSpot icon

Save HoudahSpot Searches as Finder Smart Folders

In Mac OS X’s Finder, you can save searches as “Smart Folders”. These give you quick access to all your files that meet certain criteria. For example, all Microsoft Word files modified this month. All JPG photos taken with a specific camera. Or all e-mails you’ve received from certain senders within the last seven days.

Because Mac OS X Smart Folders are actually saved searches, they differ from regular folders: they don’t actually hold anything – they only list files stored elsewhere. The content of Smart Folder is not static but dynamic. It is updated continuously as new files come to meet the smart folder’s search criteria. This means that its content changes every time files on your Mac are added, changed, or removed.

With HoudahSpot (4.1 or later), you can easily set up a search and export it as a Finder Smart Folder.

For example, if you want to create a Smart Folder containing all the e-mails received within the last 7 days from a certain group of senders, do the following:

  • Open HoudahSpot
  • Select the sample template “Apple Mail Messages” from the sidebar or from the Templates menu
  • Set “Date received within last … days” to “7”.
  • Set “Author” and / or “Author Email Addresses” if you want to restrict search results to a certain sender. If you want to restrict it to several senders, create a new group by clicking the “Add Group” button at the end of the row. Switch the group to “Any of the following are true:” and nest author names / addresses within this group. Use the + button to a new row.

    HoudahSpot Search Pane
    Setting up the search: Apple Mail Messages Template (red), “Any” group containing Authors (green) & Date Received (yellow)
  • In the File menu, select “Export As Smart Folder

    HoudahSpot File Menu
    Export a HoudahSpot search as Finder Smart Folder
  • Name your Smart Folder and choose where to save it. If you want your new Smart Folder to show up in the Finder sidebar, tick the respective box at the bottom of the save dialog.
Smart Folder in Mac OS X Finder
Smart Folder exported from HoudahSpot in the Finder

Because some of HoudahSpot’s search options are not supported by the Finder, values for locations exclusion, filters, custom columns etc. are not exported. If you want to retain these values, you may choose HoudahSpot’s “Save as Template” option. See also “Save Queries for Recurring Searches“.