By default, Hazel shows just one folder—Downloads (Macintosh HD ▸ Users ▸ your-username ▸ Downloads)—but you can add as many folders as you like. For each folder, you can then create one or more rules to monitor the folder and perform the actions of your choice.
Adding a folder, by itself, causes nothing to happen, so feel free to add any folders you think you’d like to monitor and then add rules at your leisure.
Add a Folder
Hazel can be used to organize almost any folder, but the best candidates are ones that tend to collect files, such as where your browser downloads files, where Mail puts attachments, or a shared Dropbox folder. Hazel can also use Smart Folders (with minor limitations).
Because folders associated with downloads are among the most common ones to monitor, Hazel offers a shortcut to some of the most common ones, known as Quick Folders. When you begin configuring Hazel, we suggest starting with folders in this category, and then moving on to conventional folders and Smart Folders.
Add a Quick Folder
To add a quick folder, go to Hazel’s “Folders” pane and click the Add Folder icon on the toolbar. In the dialog that appears, choose a folder from the “Quick Folders” pop-up menu at the bottom and then click “Open.” Your choices are:
Safari Download Folder: The folder where Safari stores downloads. By default, this is Macintosh HD ▸ Users ▸ your-username ▸ Downloads, but you can change it in Safari > “Preferences” > “General” > “File Download Location.”
Mail Download Folder: The folder in which Mail stores a copy of any attachment you open by double-clicking it in an email message. Like Safari, Mail uses Macintosh HD ▸ Users ▸ your-username ▸ Downloads by default, but you can change it in Mail > “Preferences” > “General” > “Downloads Folder.”
Firefox Download Folder: The folder where Firefox stores downloads (Macintosh HD ▸ Users ▸ your-username ▸ Downloads by default). You can change it in Firefox > “Preferences” > “General” > “Downloads”.
Transmission Download Folder: The folder where Transmission stores completed downloads. You must manually configure this to be a different location from where Transmission stores incomplete downloads, so that Hazel doesn’t operate on files before they’re fully downloaded. To do this, go to “Transmission > “Preferences” > “Transfers” > “Adding.” Check “Keep incomplete files in” and choose (or create) a folder for in-progress files. Then choose a different folder from the “Default location” pop-up menu just above it. (Don’t use “Same as torrent file,” because that doesn’t refer to a fixed folder that Hazel can track.) The Quick Folder link will then point to Transmission’s “Default location,” which is where completed downloads are kept.
Chrome Download Folder: The folder where Chrome stores downloads. Like other browsers, Chrome uses Macintosh HD ▸ Users ▸ your-username ▸ Downloads by default. You can change this in Chrome > “Preferences” > “Show advanced settings” > “Downloads.”
Opera Download Folder: The folder where Opera stores downloads. Opera uses Macintosh HD ▸ Users ▸ your-username ▸ Downloads by default, but you can change it in Opera > “Preferences” > “Download Location.”
If you use another app to download files regularly, you can add that location as a conventional folder (discussed just ahead). But note that you should not have Hazel watch a folder in which files download over an extended period of time (as is often the case with P2P and BitTorrent clients). Some such apps have an option to move completed downloads to another location—in such cases, you should have Hazel watch that secondary location.
Add a Conventional Folder
If a folder you want Hazel to watch isn’t in the Quick Folder list, you can add it manually. Go to Hazel’s “Folders” pane and then do either of the following:
Drag a folder from the Finder into the “Folders” list.
Click the Add Folder icon on the toolbar. In the dialog that appears, navigate to the folder you want, select it, and click “Open.”
Add a Smart Folder
Hazel can also monitor Smart Folders, which are saved Finder searches. (For example, you might search for files with a certain tag that are also over a given size, and save that search so you can find matching files whenever you like. To learn more, see Apple’s support article .) This means that Hazel can, in theory, monitor any file or folder, anywhere on your Mac—as long as it matches well-defined search criteria.
To add an existing Smart Folder, go to Hazel’s Folders pane and click the Add Folder icon on the toolbar. In the dialog that appears, choose “Saved Searches” from the “Quick Folder” pop-up menu at the bottom to display your Saved Searches folder. (If you’ve stored your Smart Folder somewhere else, navigate to that location instead.) Select the Smart Folder you want, select it, and click “Open.”
Important: Because Smart Folders represent files that may be located anywhere on your Mac, Hazel rules for Smart Folders cannot descend into subfolders or match against subfiles.
Tip: See a Folder’s Full Path
The folder list shows only folder names, not their locations. To see a folder’s full path, hover your pointer over the folder (without clicking). The path appears as a tool tip.
To see a folder in the Finder, right-click (or Control-click) the folder name and choose “Show in Finder” from the contextual menu.
Remove a Folder
To remove a folder from Hazel’s Folders list, select it and press Delete or choose Edit > “Delete.” Read the warning that appears— removing a folder is permanent and cannot be undone —and click “Remove” to confirm.
Set Folder Options
Hazel offers two “Throw away” options that apply to the currently selected folder and enable you to delete files you’re unlikely to need. To access these, select a folder and choose “Folder” > “Folder Options.” The options are:
“Duplicate files”: Duplicate files are exact copies of files that were already downloaded to this folder, or that were duplicated in the Finder. These files usually include a number at the end, such as filename-1 or filename(1) . When you select the “Duplicate files” checkbox, Hazel automatically removes duplicate files from this folder if they are identical to the original (the version of the file without the added number).
“Incomplete downloads”: Incomplete downloads occur when a download is aborted or interrupted. Hazel can automatically move these files to the Trash after the time period you set here. (Be sure to set a time period after which you’d be unlikely to resume a download.)
Note: These checkboxes apply to conventional folders and Quick Folders, but not to Smart Folders.
Use Folder Groups
Folder groups, added in Hazel 5, enable you to organize and reduce clutter in your Folders list by grouping folders together in whatever ways make sense for you. Moving a folder into or out of a group does not change its rules or other settings, nor can you assign rules to folder groups—each rule must still be assigned individually to a folder.
To create a folder group:
Choose Folder > Add Folder Group (Control-Shift-A) or click the Add Folder Group icon on the toolbar.
Type a name for your folder group and press Return.
To use a folder group:
Drag any folder underneath a group name to put it in that group, or drag it out to remove it. A horizontal line shows where the folder will go.
Use the disclosure icon to expand or collapse the contents of a folder group.
Note: Groups can be nested within other groups.
To rename a folder group:
Click a group name, wait a moment until it becomes editable, type a new name, and press Return.
To delete a folder group:
Hover over the group’s name and click the Remove icon.
Important: Deleting a folder group does not remove any of the folders within it—only the group itself. The contents of the group move up to the level of the now-deleted group.