Our Macs keep us organized, keep us connected, and don’t ask much in return. Every Mac could use a little Hazel running around inside, keeping your Mac tidy and organized. That’s what a personal digital housekeeper for your Mac can do. Keep house.
Amazingly, and despite our best efforts to organize our Macs, housecleaning is in order. OS X does some housekeeping late, late at night. Unless our Macs are turned off. Then, nothing gets done.
Hazel is your Mac’s personal housekeeper, a utility that performs all kinds of chores to make your Mac run better, stay organized longer.
Sometimes Newton’s Law of Inertia is just as applicable to the digital world as to the physical. All too often our files sit around never to be filed. Downloads and other sundry files pile up never to leave. Fortunately, an uncluttered desktop can be a reality.
Quite true. Our desks get cluttered. So does our Mac’s Desktop, not to mention the catch-all Documents folder. What Hazel does is clean and organize in ways you didn’t know you needed.
Hazel starts life on your Mac as Preference Pane. Choices are both simple and complex, depending on what you want Hazel to do.
Hazel watches whatever folders you tell it to, automatically organizing your files according to the rules you create. Have Hazel move files around based on name, date, type, what site/email address it came from (Safari and Mail only) and much more.
Putting files where they belong is just the start (click any image for a pop up, close up view).
For example, most of us use the Downloads folder to store files we get from the internet. That folder gets cluttered quickly. Add a rule or two and Hazel keeps the folder clean, and puts those downloaded files in the right locations.
Hazel works like Apple’s Mail rules, a simple set of instructions on how to handle different files.
Automatically put your music in your Music folder, movies in Movies. Keep your downloads off the desktop and put them where they are supposed to be.
Rules are structured just like they are in Mail. One after the other.
Structure Hazel’s rules to perform specific tasks on your files and folders. Then Hazel does the work automatically.
Hazel can open, archive, set color labels and add Spotlight comments. In addition, you can have Hazel rename your files or sort them into subfolders based on name, date or whatever combination of attributes you choose.
Cleaning & Sweeping
Hazel isn’t all about rules. Sometimes your Mac needs to be cleaned, clutter needs to be removed, duplicate files annihilated. And securely.
Hazel has options to clean out those pesky unneeded files that clutter your folders, getting rid of incomplete and duplicate downloads for you. And, of course, you can set up whatever rules you want to automatically throw files away.
Sometimes we forget to take out the trash. Hazel does that according to parameters you set.
Not surprisingly, Hazel has pop up reminders based on specific tasks you provide.
You can have Hazel manage your Trash. Select from different options to keep your Trash in check. And for extra security, Hazel can also shred files like Finder’s “Secure Empty Trash” option.
Normally, Hazel sits in the background so you don’t have to worry about what goes on. However, Hazel also supports Growl, so you can received notifications about Hazel’s activity.
Hazel is not easy. You don’t have to do much to get Hazel to work, but the better she’s trained the more she does for your Mac.
Hazel’s rules can trigger Automator workflows, AppleScripts and shell scripts. Hazel will run whatever you throw at it, making it easy for you to integrate into your workflow.
Hazel comes with many built-in actions, some of which manage your iPhoto pictures or iTunes music. She is also integrated with OS X’s Spotlight which lets you mix and match attributes in Hazel’s rules.
For the geekier among us, Hazel could be considered the indispensable housekeeper, performing rules on files and folders, sweeping and cleaning your Mac’s files, securely deleting the trash, and moving what’s here to where it needs to be over there.
My only gripe is that I have to tell (actions and rules and Automator workflows) Hazel to do anything and everything. Usually, I only have to tell her to do it once.