Smart Folder Targeteer

Simplifies adding scope to your Leopard Finder searches (Smart Folders)

Requires Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5.x).
Important News! Now compatible with Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6).

By default in Leopard, if you want to limit the scope of a Smart Folder's Spotlight search... hmm, well, there you go - I've already started saying it backwards.

If I want to search a specific location or group of locations using Spotlight in Leopard, the only way I've found to do it is to select a location such as a folder or disk in a Finder window's sidebar, then, if both the search field and the "Action" toolbar widget are present in the toolbar (they are by default - see "customizing toolbars" in Mac Help), type something into the search field, then select "Show Search Criteria" from the Action menu, then add or change search criteria.

In Tiger, I could first define search criteria, then use menu items at the top of the Smart Folder window to select targets for the search. Smart Folder Targeteer was designed to allow me to again create a Smart Folder using that working order (criteria first, then search scope), as well as to allow me to add multiple target hierarchies to the search, which I haven't yet found another way to do in Leopard.

Command-F Customizer is an additional script application that provides a simple interface for editing the search criteria of your command-F shortcut.

What the scripts do.

Smart Folder Targeteer Confines the search of your Smart Folder to the folder or folders you choose
Add Entry Match search criteria Adds an "Items matching text" field to your search criteria
Smart Folder Targeteer and Add Entry Match Combines the actions of the two scripts above
Command-F Customizer (Not fully compatible with Snow Leopard - Snow Leopard users see this.) Provides a simple interface for editing the search criteria of your command-F shortcut


There is more than one way to use Smart Folder Targeteer. First you can simply double-click the Smart Folder Targeteer application"s icon, in which case you'll be prompted either to choose to modify an existing property list file (".plist") into which you've collected Finder search criteria or to use the default "command-F" search as a template which will be saved into your Saved Searches folder. Alternatively, you can drag an existing Leopard Smart Folder to the script appication's icon to modify its search. The first three applications (Smart Folder Targeteer, Add Entry Match search criteria, and Smart Folder Targeteer and Add Entry Match) modifiy Smart Folders in the ways described above. Command-F Customizer, however, is a separate solution, providing a method for customizing the command-F Finder find (File menu -->Find...).


Don't target any folders which are either included in your Spotlight private items in the Spotlight pane in System Preferences or are enclosed by an item in the private items of the Spotlight pane.

A suggested working order

Launch the Command-F Customizer application and click the Edit button to copy your default_smart.plist file to your desktop as "default_smart.savedSearch" and relaunch the Finder.

Double-click the "default_smart.savedSearch" Smart Folder to open it. Be sure the Action widget appears in the Finder Toolbar (see "customizing toolbars" in Mac Help if it doesn't appear there).

Select "Show search criteria in the Action menu of the "default_smart.savedSearch" Finder window. Add, remove, and further customize the search criteria so that default_smart.savedSearch contains search criteria that you want to see when you press "command-F" in the Finder. Click Save at the upper right of the Smart Folder's window.

Drag the "default_smart.savedSearch" Smart Folder to Command-F Customizer's icon and click Replace and Relaunch Now in the dialog. Complete the step, and your customized criteria will appear whenever you press "command-F" in the Finder.

Save the "default_smart.savedSearch" Smart Folder into your Saved Searches folder (in your user's Library folder) and add the Saved Searches folder to your Finder Sidebar by dragging its icon into the Sidebar at the left side of the window. Drag "default_smart.savedSearch" or another Smart Folder onto one of the other three applications included on the Smart Folder Targeteer disk image (or launch one of the applications, Smart Folder Targeteer, Add Entry Match Search Criteria, or Smart Folder Targeteer and Add Entry Match, following the instructions above) to create a new Smart Folder with the criteria and search scope you want.

You may wish to double-click Command-F Customizer (not fully compatible with Snow Leopard - Snow Leopard users see this.) and follow the instructions to edit, restore, or replace your default command-F Finder find (File menu -->Find...). Note: Although Command-F Customizer isn't fully compatible with Snow Leopard, you may want to use it to save a default search criteria set that you can select using the "Default" search criteria selection button when using the Smart Folder Targeteer scripts.

Laine Lee,
Jun 16, 2011, 2:29 PM