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Can you annotate folders in OS X?
December 19, 2012 9:02 AM   Subscribe

On my work computer (Mac OS 10.7.5), I usually organize my projects by putting all the files related to a single project in a single folder. I try to give the folder a descriptive name, but sometimes this is difficult if there are two projects that are kinda similar. Is there a way (either natively or using some tool that I can download/buy) to annotate folders with a longer description?

I'd like it if I could search these annotations in Spotlight. Right now, I just have an Excel sheet with the list of folder names and their descriptions, but sometimes when I'm working quickly, I wish I could just right click and write a quick sentence to describe the project. And it would be cool to right click or hover or whatever on a folder and get its description. Some tool/feature like this should already be invented; what is it?
posted by bluefly to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Spotlight Comments. It's a behavior modification, but you can Command-I on any folder and add comments that Spotlight will notice. Right-Click and Get Info accomplishes the same thing.
posted by smallerdemon at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Adding tags to files in OS X discusses tagging files. You might be able to do this with folders, as well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:13 AM on December 19, 2012


Have you considered using evernote to organize instead?
posted by empath at 9:35 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like there might be some other ways to solve your problem if we could see some typical folder names. How long and similar are your project names? Have you considered just keeping similar projects in a folder of that kind of project?

Like, say, all your stuff for client 1 goes in a folder for client 1, with sub folders for each project, instead of putting them in a bunch of folders called "client 1 project 1", "client 1 project 2", etc...
posted by egypturnash at 9:41 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I verified that if you put a specific word/subject into the Spotlight Comments then you can just search on that word and Spotlight will find the folder. For example, I had a folder on the desktop that I added the nonsense word SPINGLE to the Spotlight Comments. I then closed the info box and searched for "SPINGLE" in Spotlight and the only hit was the folder.
posted by smallerdemon at 9:42 AM on December 19, 2012


One of the things I like about Default Folder X is that it adds a spotlight comments field to the bottom of all open/save dialogs. (as well as a bunch of other cool organizational stuff)

I've been trying to get better about using that and it helps me with searches greatly. Clients will often change the name of things between when they send the first file & when they place an actual order to produce something, which leaves me with ambiguity as to what to even name things at times, & this way I can pick what's logical to me for the main file/folder name, then fill the spotlight comments with all the alternate names, client name, common misspellings, etc.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:08 AM on December 19, 2012


Spotlight Comments works, thanks! Had no idea they existed. I can even set Finder to show a comments column which is super useful. Also, just tried out Default Folder X, and it makes it easy to add the comments.

Have you considered using evernote to organize instead?

I always thought Evernote was for organizing notes, though I've never used it. How do you use it to organize files and folders?

I feel like there might be some other ways to solve your problem if we could see some typical folder names.

I'm mainly a researcher, so I don't have clients, just topics, and they rarely conform to the same hierarchy. And sometimes enough time passes with my poor memory, that even a fairly descriptive folder name isn't enough to help me find what I'm looking for. I really need a sentence outlining the project.
posted by bluefly at 12:39 PM on December 19, 2012


I always thought Evernote was for organizing notes, though I've never used it. How do you use it to organize files and folders?


You can attach your files to notes. Then you can stop messing with folders.
posted by empath at 1:07 PM on December 19, 2012


There are a lot of Finder supplements out in the market as well. I have used DevonThink off and on over the years as one, but you have to be super-careful with it and only use the indexing feature if you want to keep tabs on your folders and their contents. (Otherwise, it assumes you want to use DevonThink as a sort of All-In-One document manager and then it creates a giant database with all of your stuff in it that it works from.) Great app, but again, you have be super careful with it.

Glad the Spotlight Comments are an easy solution. I actually didn't know you could view them in a column! That's awesome.
posted by smallerdemon at 3:40 PM on December 19, 2012


What I do is put an image on a folder to differentiate them. Have you thought of that? Just copy a (small) image, do cmd-I on the folder in question, click on the current folder image at the top left of the box you have just opened and then, from the menu, do Edit>Paste. Et voilĂ .
posted by TheRaven at 1:38 AM on December 20, 2012


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