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Chapter 4. Working on the Mac OS X Deskt... > Searching Your Mac with Smart Folder... - Pg. 109

Working on the Mac OS X Desktop 109 Searching Your Mac with Smart Folders Under Mac OS X version 10.4, the Finder's search tools have been replaced by smart folders. A smart folder displays its contents based on search criteria that you define as opposed to a "regular" folder that displays items that have been manually placed within it. Even better, you can save smart folders so that you can repeat searches simply by refreshing the smart folders you create. Just like Spotlight, smart folders search metadata so that there are many kinds of criteria you can use to search your Mac. Because of this, you can search by many different kinds of information, including the content of files and many attributes that aren't even displayed in the Finder. Smart Folder Versus Spotlight Spotlight and smart folders enabled you to do a similar task--searching for files and folders on your Mac. However, these tools work differently, and which one you should use for a specific search depends on what you want to do with that search. If you want to save a search so you can run it again, a smart folder is your best bet. If you are performing a one-time search, which tool you use depends on how narrow you want the results to be. Although you can select general types of objects to search using the Spotlight pane of the System Pref- erences application, you can't focus the search all that tightly and are limited to only one search criterion at a time. Using smart folders, you can make your search as specific as you want and include multiple search criteria in a single search. Generally, use Spotlight for quick searches when you don't mind having to scan a large number of hits. Oth- erwise, a smart folder is probably the way to go.