In yesterday’s post, I talked about how I use TextExpander in my quest for a paperless office and how is saves me a tremendous amount of time. Another essential application that I use in conjunction with TextExpander is Hazel, put out by a company called Noodlesoft. Hazel is a System Preference pane that works silently in the background and takes care of all of your file management tasks.
Organizes Your Folders
How Hazel works, is that it watches whatever folders you specify and then organizes your files according to the rules that you create. For instance, if I save a file to my Desktop and the filename contains the words “Capital One”, Hazel automatically moves it to my Bills and Invoices folder. I have another rule that watches my Downloads folder so that if I download any music files, Hazel automatically imports it into iTunes and places it in my To Be Reviewed playlist.
How Hazel Organizes Files
You can have Hazel organize your files based on file name, date added, date created, date modified, file extension, tags, color label, size, contents, the site or e-mail address where the file came from, and much, much more.
For an example using the date, I’ve created a rule that watches my Downloads folder and any files that contain the dmg or pkg extension and whose date added is over a week old, Hazel automatically deletes the file. I figure that if I downloaded an application and I haven’t installed it within a week, then I must not be very interested in it. Moreover, this rule prevents my Downloads folder from become cluttered with disk image or package files.
Hazel Can Do More Than Filing
In addition to moving files around on your computer, Hazel can perform other time-saving tasks . You can have Hazel automatically rename your files, upload files, add or remove tags, set color labels, add comments, import into iTunes, import into iPhoto, and more. Additionally, more advanced users can have Hazel run AppleScript, Run an Automator workflow or Run a Shell Script – all based on whatever file attributes you specify.
Manage the Trash
I was always terrible at remembering to empty my Mac’s Trash. Sometimes, I’d end up with 20 -30 gigabytes of files in my trash, hogging up my computer’s resources. Not since I installed Hazel. From the Trash tab on top of the Hazel Preferences pane, you can have Hazel automatically delete the files in your trash after a specified amount of time. I have mine set to 1 week. I’ve also set Hazel to not allow my trash to grow any larger then 1 GB.
Another Trash option that many folks my like, especially if you share a computer with others, is the Delete files securely (shred) feature. This ensures that deleted files cannot be recovered by others.
When you delete an application, oftentimes, support files associated with the application remain on your computer. Hazel includes a feature called App Sweep that offers to uninstall these support files for you, whenever you drag an application to the Trash. This is never done automatically – you are always asked if you wish to delete the files.
Creating A Hazel Rule
Creating a Haze rule is easy, once you’ve decided what it is you want to rule to accomplish.
To create a Hazel rule: 1. Open the Hazel Preferences pane.
2. In the left pane, choose the folder that you want Hazel to watch or click the + (plus) symbol to add a new folder to the list.
3. In the right pane, click the + (plus) symbol to create a new rule.
4. Type a name for the Rule in the Name box.
5. Click the drop-down boxes under the If area and choose the items that will trigger the rule. Click the + symbol to add an additional trigger (for example – the file extension is dmg and it is over a week old).
6. Under the Do the following area (the “then” portion of the statement), select the activity that Hazel is to perform.
Test Drive Hazel
Noodlesoft offers a 14-day free trial of Hazel so you can see if it’ll fit into your workflow. The cost of Hazel is $28, which considering all that it can do, is quite a bargain. Hazel is right up there with TextExpander as one of my essential and powerful time-saving applications.
You can check out Hazel HERE.
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