Getting More out of Leopard’s SIdebar

by Tanner Godarzi Feb 01, 2008

The Finder of old has been replaced with one resembling iTunes in looks and functionality, taking design hints on how the Sidebar should be redesigned sporting smaller icons that mimic the source list. But with all things new, it means new ways to utilize them, and I’ll show you how to do just that.

The default Sidebar contains 3 Smart Folders and 3 predefined searches that deal with the age of an item. These are great and all, but not as full featured as we’d like them to be. In a sense they mimic the Pictures, Movies, and Documents Folders, 2 of which Apple has subtracted from the final design. With a bit of poking around in the System files, we can add more to Finder’s Sidebar concerning Smart Folders.
Navigate your way to System > Library > Core Services > Finder. From here you’ll have to right click and “Show Package Contents” then navigate further to Contents > Resources > Canned Searches. What lies in here is not only the 3 default Smart Folders and predefined time searches, but also 5 new Smart Folders: All Applications, All Downloads, All PDF Documents, All Music, and All Presentations.

These new Smart Folders do just what they describe: seek out everything on your Mac and local drives that matches the predetermined criteria. All Downloads takes it to the next level, showing anything on your Mac that downloads any bit of data that isn’t already there. My search shows the usual suspects—Pictures and Applications I’ve downloaded—but also Download locations, Applications that download data (iCal, iChat, Safari, and Mail), plus Documents that contain anything related to the word Download.

I don’t know why Apple didn’t include these by default or offer any option to add them but we can do that ourselves easily. You can’t drag the Smart Folder itself onto the Sidebar or else it will end up under Places. You’ll have to right click and “Show Package Contents” then rename the folder “search.SavedSearch” to whatever pleases you, as having a handful of folders all named the same thing gets confusing quickly. Once done, drag this folder under Search For and it will show up in all Finder windows.


  • afraid to say, Tanner, this feat is activated with my 10.5.1…

    mat!-) had this to say on Feb 01, 2008 Posts: 13
  • If you drag the search.savedsearch then right-click on that you have an option to rename it. However, it says that I don’t have sufficient privileges. What do I need to do to fix that?

    yetsirah had this to say on Feb 01, 2008 Posts: 4
  • What I want is the Trash in the sidebar. Anyone know a good way of doing this?

    diablojota had this to say on Feb 01, 2008 Posts: 25
  • It is more easy to add to the sidebar, just select the smartfolder you want and then press cmd+t

    WildKiter had this to say on Feb 01, 2008 Posts: 1
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