Mac power users rejoice. There’s a Mac app that determines your power user status. No self-respecting Mac power user is complete with Hazel, the automated file organizer.
After using Hazel off and on through the years, I’m convinced that my power user Mac geek status is in jeopardy. Why? More on that in a moment.
What Hazel does is what we’d like to think the Mac is capable of by itself, without an add-on app, but it’s not. Hazel organizes the folders on your Mac using a set of rules which you define. And, like any good assistant, Hazel has a few other tricks you’ll find useful.
For example, you can set up specific rules in Hazel that tell it what to do with files you download.
Hazel works similar to the rules in Apple’s Mail. Set up conditions that match, then attach that to specific actions. Certain downloaded files can automatically be moved to specific folders.
Hazel can rename files or sort them in more ways than the Finder. We can think of Hazel as a smart assistant, but she’s really more of a rules-based engine. But you have to create the rules, otherwise Hazel doesn’t do much.
That said, Hazel can also find and delete app files that get left behind when you trash an app that you no longer need. The app comes with a bunch of basic actions already built-in, including importing specific files into iTunes or iPhoto or other app folders.
The rules you give Hazel can run Automator workflows, any AppleScripts you find useful, and do other rules-based tasks in the background, but still is smart enough to give you Growl notifications.
So, is Hazel a useful app for Mac geeks? Yes. Here’s the only problem I have with Hazel (which threatens my status as more of a Mac power user).
The time it takes to set up rules in Hazel is about equal to simply doing the task myself. When Siri finally comes to the Mac I can see plenty of rules-based actions that become voice activated, but for now, we have to do them the old fashioned way.