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, or just your Desktop. Let’s go ahead and click This Mac.
- 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, including 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).
- Want to exclude something from your search, such as email messages? Press and hold the “Option” key; when you do, the little “+” buttons in the top corner of the search window will turn into “…” buttons. Click the new button, and you’ll get a search filter that reads “[Any/all/none] of the following are true.” Select “None,” from the pull-down menu, select “Kind” is “Other” in the following search filter, then type “Mail Message” in the blank. Poof! All the mail messages in your Smart Folder will disappear.
- Ready to save your search? Click the “Save” button—and, if you wish, click the “Add to sidebar” checkbox.
On a Windows 8 PC:
- Right-click on your desktop (make sure you’re in the “classic” Windows desktop environment, not the Windows 8 Start screen), move the cursor over the “New” option, then select “Folder.”
- Open the folder you just created, then 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 “This PC.”
- Click in the search box in the top-right corner of the folder window. When you do, a new Search tab will appear at the top of the search window, and you should see a “Date modified” button just beneath. Click the button, then select “This week” from the drop-down menu.
- To narrow your search even further, click “Kind,” “Size,” or “Other properties” drop-down menus to add more search filters.
- All done? Click the “Save search” button.