Ansley writes: When I went to my hard drive, there was always an option to open a folder only with items from today or this week. Now it’s gone! I used this a ton to find documents that accidentally saved to the wrong place on my computer. How can I get this folder back or create a new one?
Hi Ansley! Don’t worry. It’s easy to create a folder on your desktop that’ll display only the files you’ve created or worked with in the past day, week, month … you name it.
On a Mac, the key is to build a so-called “Smart Folder”; for Windows, we’re going to create a “Saved Search.”
Ready? Here we go…
On a Mac:
- Click on your bare desktop, then select “New Smart Folder” from the File menu in the top-left corner of the screen. An empty folder with a “Search” bar along the top will appear on your desktop.
- Next, you’ll need to decide on the scope of your search—either your entire hard drive (including all your Mac’s arcane system files), or just your personal user directory (including your Photos, Music, and Documents directories, plus the Desktop). To scour your entire hard drive, click “This Mac” in the left corner of the smart folder; to search just your user directory, click the name of your directory immediately to the right of the “This Mac” option.
- Since you want to see each and every file that you’ve created in the past week, we’re going to leave the search box blank and instead add a search filter. Start by clicking the little “+” button in the top-right corner of the folder.
- A new filter bar will appear just below the main “Search” bar, and it’ll contain a couple of pull-down menus for narrowing down our search results. Click the first pull-down menu, select “Created date” (or “Last opened” or “Last modified” date—it’s up to you), then select “this week” from the second menu.
- Bam! A big list of files will now appear in the folder—all files that you’ve created in the past week.
- Want to narrow your search even further? Click the “+” button again to add a new filter, then select some new criteria—maybe, say, only a certain type of file (“Kind” is “document,” for instance).
- Ready to save your search? Click the “Save” button—and, if you wish, click the “Add to sidebar” checkbox.
On a Windows PC:
- Right-click on your desktop, then select “New Folder.”
- Select the scope of your search by clicking a directory in the left-hand column. Want to search every file on your system? Then click “Computer.”
- Click in the search box in the top-right corner of the folder window. When you do, a drop-down menu will appear with a couple of optional search filters: “Date Modified” and “Size.” Go ahead and select “Date Modified.”
- Next, it’s time to set a date range. Pick some dates from the calendar that appears, or click on an option below, from “A long time ago” to “Yesterday.”
- All set? Click the Save Search button.