Yesterday, all my files seemed so far away

Oh, I believe in Smart Folders for yesterday.

smart folder mac icon

Bev Ager has lost all her yesterdays, and is looking forward to a new tomorrow. She writes:

I upgraded to El Capitan recently and am finding quite a few things have changed and I don’t know how to get them back Today, I am writing about missing the “today, yesterday, last week…” on the Finder sidebar. I used that all the time, and I don’t see those choices in the Finder Preferences.

These pre-fab options disappeared a couple of releases ago; I assume Apple found that people weren’t using them, and you know how it is about simplicity: An unused feature gets the yank. However, it’s very easy to restore these along with more baroque options.

mac911 create smart folder criteria

Create criteria for a smart folder; here, yesterday’s files.

  1. In the Finder, choose File > New Smart Folder.
  2. In the upper-right corner, click the + sign.
  3. A row of choices appears. Select Created Date from the first menu, then Yesterday from the menu following the word “is.”
  4. Click Save, name it “Yesterday” and leave the Add To Sidebar box checked.
  5. Click Save.
mac911 save yesterday smart folder

Name the smart folder how you’d like it to appear in the sidebar, and leave the box checked to add it.

Now that set of matches appears as a smart folder you can click in the sidebar. In this case, I chose Created Date, since that’s the most likely criterion you want to find files from yesterday.

mac911 smart folder in sidebar

Now, the smart folder shows up in the sidebar. (Control-click to change its options.)

If you want to use a different way of determining that something happened to a file or other item, from the first field, select Other, then choose Date Added, Date Last Viewed, Last Modified Date, or other criteria. It can be instructive to try different date selectors to see which one fits best.

For instance, in my default web browser download folder, I now organize items by date added instead of last modified, as it more accurately reflects how I look for items in that folder.

You can add additional criteria to that smart folder, too, if you want to exclude email messages or other items from your yesterdays. In fact, you might say, “Suddenly, there aren’t half the matches there used to be.”

(Apologies to The Beatles.)

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