While I think very highly of Mac OS X as an operating system, file management is not one of its strong suits. Finder is a mediocre file manager at best, and for daily tasks of file management, you have to take it upon yourself to manage your files. For people who like their data managed properly in labelled folders and the like, doing this manually can be a truckload of work, easily avoidable by using tools such as Hazel.
While Hazel is not free, a 14 day trial is available which you can check out before you decide to take the leap and pay $21.50 for the full unlocked version.
Hazel promises to be a swiss-knife of small tools, but its most prominent and most advertised feature is automated file management. Here’s how it works:
- Add folders to the Hazel prefpane which you’d like Hazel to monitor for changes.
- Based on a few preset or custom rules, any files or folders that are added to the monitored folders can either be copied, moved, sorted, imported, labelled, archived, renamed, commented, labelled or more.
- Preset rules include those for common media types such as Movies, Music, Pictures, and by default the Downloads folder is monitored. All of this is completely customizable.
While at surface this may not seem coherent, you can create extremely powerful filters to automatically perform actions on downloaded or copied files. Check out the website for some popular examples.
Apart from its primary feature of file management, Hazel also helps you clean out related settings files and properties of applications when you uninstall them (drag them to the Trash). Hazel can do this across multiple users, and gives other users the option to keep their settings for a particular app if another user deletes the app from their account.