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10.5: Create application-specific sidebar items System 10.5
After a year with Leopard, I finally decided to look at the Spotlight search field in Open and Save dialog boxes, and I noticed there's a way to make application-specific sidebar items. I haven't seen this documented anywhere, though that may be because I get the impression few people use the Spotlight field in Open and Save dialog boxes.

Setting up app-specific saved searches can be useful if you have certain files or folders you frequently access from within a certain application. For example, I find most of my Photoshop work only goes into a couple of folders, and the same is true for my InDesign files, and web pages I save as PDFs.

From the Open or Save dialog in any application, enter a term in the Spotlight search field. If desired, use the plus (+) sign button to add criteria to your search (the Kind field can be very helpful here for narrowing the search results). When you click the Save button, name this Smart Folder and click the checkbox marked 'Display Smart Folder For This Application Only.'

From now on, you'll see your saved search in the sidebar of the Open and Save dialog within that application. For my tastes at least, the added bonus of these sidebar Smart Folders is that they are not displayed in the sidebar of Finder windows.

Should you later decide to remove one of these items, simply view an Open or Save dialog box in whichever application you wish to change, then drag the unwanted Smart Folder from the sidebar, just as one would in the Finder.

[robg adds: I'll admit to never have tried saving a search from an Open or Save dialog, so perhaps others have overlooked this useful feature as well.]
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10.5: Create application-specific sidebar items
Authored by: adrianm on Feb 26, '09 08:38:30AM

Nice, and it works conveniently for the Print -> Save As PDF ... dialog too as I'm often wanting to jump to specific folders for saving PDFs from a couple of apps.


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10.5: Create application-specific sidebar items
Authored by: womba on Feb 26, '09 09:36:15PM

Placing a folder alias in your ~/Library/PDF Services folder will allow you to save documents from the PDF button of the Print dialogue box, but in that case you can't change the Title, Author etc. details. You can also put Scripts into that folder.



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nice~
Authored by: cvk_b on Feb 26, '09 09:32:57AM

This is nice because it has potential to remove clutter from my standard finder sidebar.



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10.5: Create application-specific sidebar items
Authored by: ssciboz on Feb 26, '09 10:55:24AM

Wow that is really nice ! I never even looked this field ! I'm bored of spotlight in finder, it was really not a good thing they did, on my opinion, and for dialogs I use Default Folder since years (if I can mention it ?).

But this hint is really nice and usefull, good job ! Thanks for it !



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10.5: Create application-specific sidebar items
Authored by: kostia on Feb 26, '09 11:52:59AM

Nice! If this worked in InDesign's Place dialog as well as Open and Save, it'd save me buckets of clicking.



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10.5: Create application-specific sidebar items
Authored by: kostia on Feb 26, '09 12:05:35PM

aaaaaaaaaaand whoops, it totally does. You just have to repeat the steps and do it again, it doesn't remember the same application's smart searches from the other dialogs.



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10.5: Create application-specific sidebar items
Authored by: asmeurer on Feb 26, '09 12:20:17PM

This comes in handy if you are downloading music file to your downloads folder and want to import them into iTunes. Just created a saved search for whatever criteria all of the files you are downloading match and apply it to your download folder. Makes it a lot easier then trying to find stuff in a huge downloads folder, especially if the downloaded files aren't sequentially named.



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10.5: Create application-specific sidebar items
Authored by: hamarkus on Feb 26, '09 12:59:57PM

Great tip.
About your statement that 'you get the impression few people use the Spotlight field in Open and Save dialog boxes', I agree, if I want to open a file, I can hit cmd-O, click in the Spotlight field, or just click in the Spotlight field in the menubar, saving me that extra cmd-O.



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10.5: Application-specific Smart Folder sidebar items
Authored by: drmacnut on Mar 03, '09 12:36:56PM

Great hint, NaOH-Lye!

I actually do use the Spotlight field in my Save and Open dialogs (mostly Save) every single day. It saves me lots of time routing through folders when I already know the name of the place where I want to save my file. But I never knew that one could save smart folders in this fashion, and I'm grateful to NaOH-Lye for the hint!



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Doesn't work?
Authored by: JRyan on Mar 08, '09 09:38:24AM

Does this NOT work for anyone else? I follow the steps, but when I click "Save" (to save my new Smart Folder) absolutely nothing happens. The dialog doesn't close unless I click "Cancel". Same behavior on my husband's Mac. What's up with that? I am running OS 10.5.6 on an Intel MacBook Pro, my husband is 10.5.6 on an Intel MacBook... any ideas of why this doesn't work for us?

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Doesn't work? sure it does...
Authored by: tedw on Jul 28, '09 08:41:59PM

click the little Save button up by the search bar, not the big Save button at the bottom. the new smart folder will appear at teh bottom of the list, so you may need to scroll the sidebar down to see it.



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Where saved?
Authored by: DistantThunder on Jul 28, '09 08:15:53PM

Does anyone know where these application-specific saved searches are saved? They are not stored in the "~/Library/Saved Searches" folder. I would like to know for backup and restore purposes.



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Where saved?
Authored by: tedw on Jul 28, '09 08:37:49PM

in the file ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.sidebarlists.plist, in the useritems key.



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Where saved?
Authored by: dilvish1984 on Jul 28, '09 11:47:26PM
No, not quite (at least not in any cases I've come across).

The file ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.sidebarlists.plist contains aliases to the system-wide saved search files, in the savedsearches key (not the useritems key), some of which are actually stored in the "~/Library/Saved Searches" folder, as the previous commenter mentioned.

The application specific saved searches appear to be stored inline in the individual application's plist file, under a NSNavPanelAppSmartFolders key. This of course begs the question as to where they are stored if an individual applcation doesn't use the plist file preferences storage system. I presume the OS would then create a plist file for that app in ~/Library/Preferences/, using it's bundle identifier (therefore naming it something like com.companyname.applicationname.plist) in which to store this info.

(Sorry, I don't have time to test that out thoroughly right now to be sure, but it appears to be true for the one application I tried it out with...)

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