7/14/219:00 am Handy Ways To View Recent Files On Your Mac The Recents item in the Finder isn't that useful. But you can create your own Smart Folders to replace it that fit your needs and show you the files you really want to see. You can also use Spotlight or Siri to find recent files. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you some better ways to view recent files on your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than a thousand supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you could read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. Often when we're working with our Macs we want to go right to a file that we were just working with. In the Finder there's an easy way to do this. Usually in your Favorites here you've got Recents. Select that and it shows you all of your files sorted by date last opened. The list can be huge. It can contain a lot of things that you don't necessarily want to get right back to. I typically don't even have Recents here. I go into Finder, Preferences, Sidebar and turn it off. But you could create your own recents functionality here that's more selective, that only shows you truly recent files and maybe files only of certain types. So to do this we're going to do a saved search, also known as a Smart Folder. So you can start one many different ways. But I'm going to go to File, New Smart Folder. But first I'm going to check my current location. So I'm going to start in my iCloud Drive Folder because I have all my files in iCloud Drive. You could start anywhere that you like. If you have everything that you need for a particular search in a subfolder you can start there. Now I'm going to go to File, New Smart Folder. You could see the search starts either in this Mac or iCloud Drive, the location I was previously at. So I'm going to make sure iCloud Drive is selected and then I'm going to start my search. I'm not going to worry about searching for something specific here. I want to see all files that are pretty recent. So instead I'm going to use the Plus button here to add some new search criteria. I'm going to go to the criteria type here and I'm going to choose either Last Opened Date or Last Modified Date. If you don't see what you want in this list you can go to Other and everything is here. So if I search for modified, for instance, I could see Last Modified Date right there and Okay. Say it's within the last, and let's say 90 days. So I'm not going to see all my files going back forever. Just things that I modified in the last 90 days. Now depending upon your use you really may want to go to Last Opened Date. There may be files that you never modified but you open and refer to all the time. So you'll see the temporary results right here but I'm not done yet. I also want to restrict the file types here. So let's say I only want to see spreadsheets. I'm going to use the Plus button here again and I'm going to go to Kind. You may have to go to Other to find Kind. Instead of Any I'm going to select the type. So I could say PDF or Presentations like in a Keynote document. But I'm going to choose Other and I could type a file extension here or an App name. Then I'm going to type Numbers as the application. I'm going to see three Number spreadsheets appear here. So not only will this Smart Folder remember the search criteria here but also remember the columns and the sorting. I want to Sort by Date Modified but that's not listed here. So I'm going to Control Click on anyone of these headings here and add Date Modified. Control Click again to remove Date Opened. I don't care about the Size in this view and I don't care about Kind because they're all Numbers documents. So I just have Name and Date Modified. Then I'm going to click on Date Modified to Sort. So right now it sorting by the most recent first. But I could click here to go to the other way if I want. So now that I've got things setup like I want I can Save this. I'll click the Save button here and I'm going to Save this in this default location which is in your Home folder Library Folder. Save searches. I'm going to call this Recent Numbers Documents. Or you could call it Recent Spreadsheets. Then I'm going to make sure Add to Sidebar is checked. When I Save not only is it going to save the search to that location which I'll never really go to, but it's going to add it here to Favorites. I'm going to move it here to the top. So it's at the top. Now anytime I want to View my recent spreadsheets, wherever I am in the Finder, I just go to this and it goes to it. You can see here it remembers I only wanted to see Name, Date Modified Sorted by Date Modified with the most recent first. This will automatically update to show me my most recent Numbers document. I could always modify this by Control clicking here in Favorites. I could go to Show Search Criteria and it bring all that back up. So if I wanted to say change to 120 days or only 30 days I could and I could also change other things. So, for instance, let's say I wanted to a combo kind of search. Maybe I'm always wanting to see Numbers files and PDF's. That's what I primarily work with. So let's make this both. Now if I add another item here to the criteria I could do Kind and I could say, is, and there actually is a selection for PDF's. So I'll just use that. Notice now it shows nothing. Which doesn't seem right because I know there are three Numbers' files that fit within the last 90 days so why is it now nothing. Well, it's doing a And here. It's got to be Kind is Numbers and Kind is PDF which of course is impossible. What I want to do is an Or. Kind is either Numbers or PDF. So I'm going to go back over here to these buttons and I'm going to go to the line above these two. I'm going to hold the Option key down and you could see the Plus changes to three dots. When I click it now I get this little Any of the following are True or All or None of the Following are True. So using Any I can list several things underneath here and if one of them is true then it will find that document. So, it starts off with Name Matches. I don't need that. I just need the Kind is Numbers or Kind is PDF. I can actually Drag these by grabbing just to the left there and drag them up. Let's get rid of Name Matches. I didn't need that. So now it's Last Modified Dates within the last 90 days and any of these things are True, the Kind is either Numbers or the Kind is PDF. So now I see Numbers and PDF files all sorted by Date Modified, All within the last 90 days. Let's go and change this by Control clicking and then Rename. Now I can Rename it. So instead of Recent Spreadsheets I can call this Recent Docs or Recent Spreadsheets & PDF's. Whatever I want. Now I've got the name changed, I've setup new criteria, I have the Save button here, now wherever I am, if I'm somewhere else, I can go to Recent Docs and it will actually show me exactly what I want. I could also Control Click on this and notice there's Add To Dock. When I do that it adds this as a Dock item here which is really handy to have. So you can tell how easy this is to change. Don't be afraid to change it on a regular basis. Like, for instance, for awhile, maybe at the end of the year, I want to review all of the year's documents. I can go into here, Show Search Criteria, change this to 400 days. I get 400 days saved and then when I'm done and I want to go back to the 90 days, just go back in again and set it to 90 days. It's pretty easy to modify. When you have multiple file types like this the useful thing to do is turn Grouping on. You can do that in View. Use Groups and then go back to View again and Group by Kind or you can go right to it here in this button in the ToolBar. So, when grouped by Kind you can see spreadsheets and PDF documents are separate. Now this is very useful here where you have a limited number of files, where I've said I only want 90 days and I want these two file types. If I were to go to Recents here, which you can also get to in the Go Menu and I were to use Grouping there it's not nearly as useful. You get documents which goes on forever and then you get all sorts of other groups down here like Movies and Music, and things like that. This list is just too long to make grouping by Kind useful. But the short, Recent Docs Smart folder I created works really well with grouping. So instead of creating Recent Numbers Documents and Recent PDF's, I could just do Recent Docs. Have both spreadsheets and PDF documents in here. Have them grouped and now in one location I can see both things. I could probably add three or four different file things and it would still be useful. I can do one-off searches either here in the Finder in the Search field or in Spotlight with Command Space. You could search for things like Kind then colon then let's say Numbers. You'll get those results. You can't ask for files modified in the last 30 days or 90 days but you can do a date range. So you could do either Created or Modified and then a colon and then you can get a date range. So let's say 1/1/2021 to 7/8/2021 and then you get those results. Or you could say greater than and equal to and then a date like that. Siri can actually do a little better as you can specify the number of days. Show me Numbers' files modified in the last 90 days. Here are all of the files that were modified between April 8, 2021 and today. You can click here to open that in the Finder. So I hope you found this useful. Thanks for watching. Related Subjects: Finder (294 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 12 Responses to “Handy Ways To View Recent Files On Your Mac” Sherron Challis 3 years ago This topic was GREAT - thanks so much. Will rewatch as I implement. Beth Thompson 3 years ago Oh my gosh! This is SO helpful. I always look for tricks that help me stay organized and efficient. Thank you! George Rubin 3 years ago Gary we really appreciate you. How do you dream these up? Are they coming in as questions? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago George: Sometimes. I also comb the web for people asking questions on various forums. And then often I just think about Mac software and wonder what could be useful to people. John Porter 3 years ago Hi Gary. Brilliant tutorial. Can you delete items directly from the search results? Brenda Brooks 3 years ago Hi, Really enjoyed this tutorial and will use it on my Mac. However, I would love to be able to do something similar on my iPad. Any ideas? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago John: Yes. You can drag them to the Trash just like at any other time. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Brenda: On the iPad you use the Files app instead of the Finder. There is no Smart Folder function there, unfortunately. You could probably build something in the Shortcuts app to list files by criteria, but it wouldn't be fully functional like using the Files app. Ann MacKay 3 years ago As a long-time Mac user, I have never used smart folders This was most helpful to help me organize my documents as I juggle many volunteer activities. Hans Schreier 3 years ago Very helpful tips! Sometimes the rate of speech is too fast for a non-native speaker. John Porter 3 years ago Can you tell me why when I do a conventional search using Cmd/F it highlights "This Mac" and brings up items on all connected drives including external drives, and yet a smart search only seems to search the drive you chose and doesn't respond to external drives. Am I doing something wrong? Great tip though. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago John: It should be the same. What happens if you just do the search the regular way, get the results you want, then click the Save button? Comments Closed.