Simple Organization for a MAC

The fall of 2011 marked the beginning of my first artplay with Anna Aspnes Designs. Over the last seven years, I have collected more than 30,000 pieces, including templates, brushes, papers, bows, buttons, masks, overlays, multimedia files, etc. Initially, I tried cataloging each piece in Lightroom. However, I soon abandoned that idea because of time and focus. Now, I import only my photos and scrapbook layouts into Lightroom for tagging and cataloging. It’s the photos and pages that I print or publish in books that are in Lightroom. The pieces of Anna’s designs are my tools for creating my pages.

As a MAC user, I have been asked how in the world I find anything in one folder containing 30,000 plus items, especially without Bridge, Photoshop’s companion, or Window’s ACDSee. The answer, I simply search for what I want with Spotlight, a feature on any MAC. Searching a MAC with Spotlight is far faster than using Bridge.

Note: First, a big thank you to Anna for labeling her artsy products so well. It means that with a minimum of effort on my part, I can have an easy organizational system. Second, unfortunately I don’t have a quick system for PC users as I have been a dedicated Mac user since my first Apple IIc in 1984.

Today, I am sharing how to set up a saved search on my MAC. There are a couple of other simple things I do to facilitate my searches, for example adding the words, “kit preview”, “brush preview”, “mask preview” or “paper preview” to the file name of Anna’s previews. That’s the only extra labeling that I do. I don’t use the template previews; I place only the templates in my Anna folder. The screen below shows my kit previews.

Note: Below is my folder of Anna Aspnes’ products. It does not include the abr files. Those are in another folder that I access with a brush program specific to Mac OS, Brush Pilot.

To create your search:

Navigate to your folder of Anna’s products in a finder window (or the one you’re considering using after you feel confident enough to put them all in one folder).

Highlight the folder you want searched. In my case, it is named AAspnes in white letters in a gray box just under the icons. In the rectangular box with the search magnifying glass icon, type in a word, i.e. charm. Everything I have that is labeled “charm” appears.

Click the little + sign and another drop down menu will appear with more search options. Leave “kind” and “any” as they appear as your choice.

Put your cursor back in the search window and press the delete key until the criteria  you entered previous disappears. See the screenshot below. Do not use the tiny x in the spotlight field to clear the field before saving your search.

Click the “Save” button on the right side of the finder window. A dialogue box will appear. I deleted the word “searching” so that I just had the name of the folder in which all my Anna products are stored.

Be sure to check the Add to Sidebar box so that your search is always available in your sidebar from any finder window.

That’s all you need to do to set up your initial search. Now I can search
quickly for fotoblendz, red buttons, twigs, leaves, kit preview, solid paper, artsy paper, template etc. with minimum effort when I’m creating a scrapbook page.

Maintenance for my digital supply organizational system is minimal. When I get something new, I label the previews only with what category it is, i.e. mask preview. I add that at the end of the preview file name. There are times when I search the previews with a category to see what I have. Then I move all the products to my AAspnes folder. After saving the zip file with it’s contents previews to an external drive, I place the previews inside my AAspnes folder and delete the zip files.

Basically, with the spotlight field blank and “kind is any” selected below, you are saving a search for anything in the one folder that you chose. Now, with a finder window open I can drag a file right over to my document and the name of the file will show in the layers panel. I hope this helps those who are wondering whether there is a simple way to organize on a MAC.


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  1. Thanks so much Linda for your wonderful tutorial I shall be referring to this again and again.

  2. Ah!! You are Genius Linda!! Thank you SO much! I had started the LR cataloguing and import, and just wasn’t liking all the files going in there, and then I didn’t even use it. Excellent tip….Thank you so much.

    • Linda

      Thank you Beverly, nice thing about this search is that with a finder window open you can drag a file right over to your document and the name of the file will show in the layers panel without you having to do anything! Have fun!!

  3. Le Nistour

    Thank you Linda…I bought the Brush Pilot….I can see all Anna’ Brushes….but How can I open them in PSE 15…there is something I missed somewhere….I Open my scrap page and click on the photoshop brush….and then ????
    Thank you for help….I looked for a tuto on You tube . …
    Simone in France….named Berry18 on Oscraps

    • Simone, when I am in Brush Pilot, I control+click on the name of the brush from the list on the left. The first option is to “reveal in finder”. That will open a finder window and highlight the brush you just clicked. I often just drag this abr brush to the PSCC icon in my dock. That actually loads the brush for me into PSCC and I can see it in the available brushes. I think it would work the same way with PSE 15 and the brush should be available in the brush panel of PSE. A second option you might choose to use: once I decide on a brush to use, I navigate there and load directly from the brush panel. I keep all my brush abr files together. But I use that control+click method most. I hope this helps! By the way, Anna has a couple of videos on loading brushes on her YouTube channel.

  4. Simone

    Thank you very much Linda….very clear….I will try it soon
    Have ã nice day

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