Tunabelly Software

Folder Tidy Tutorial

Get the most out of your tidies.

This tutorial will guide you through the different features of Folder Tidy. If you don't already have it, grab the free trial or check it out on the Mac App Store.

The goal of Folder Tidy is to take all the files in a folder and sort them based on file type, or customer rules into separate folders to help tidy it up. For example, all the photos could be moved into a Pictures folder, all archives (zip, 7z, etc) moved into an Archives folder and so on. It can be used with the built-in rules (almost 20 are included) or build custom rules based on powerful predicates.

Getting Started

Stacks Image 8130
The first thing to do with Folder Tidy is to tell it which folder you'd like to tidy up and where to move to the files to. In the screenshot above, the files from the folder titled "Messy Folder" will be sorted and moved to a folder titled "Sorted Folder". This folders can be what ever you'd like. You can even have them the same, for example both being the Desktop, in which case the files would remain on the desktop although sorted into the appropriate folders (Pictures, Videos, Word Documents, etc).

For the remainder of the tutorial, the folder to tidy will be known as the "source folder" and the folder where the organized files go will be known as the "destination folder". This will help when describing uses of these folders.

So go ahead, choose the source and destination folders and do a tidy.

Setting up Tidy Options

Stacks Image 8188
Lots of options to play with. Here's what they do:

Hide all applications before running the tidy - This will hide every running application so the Finder is visible right before the tidy is run. This can be helpful if you have the folders open in the Finder and would like to see the files move.

Show tidied folder in the Finder - Once the tidy is finished, the destination folder will be opened and shown in the Finder.

Create top level folder with the current date and time - If this option is enabled, a folder will be created inside the tidied folder with the name of the source folder plus the current date and time. For example: "Messy Folder Files From Jul 11, 2015, 5.03.15 PM". This allows doing a tidy every day and having the files sorted not only by file type and rules, but also grouped together by when they were tidied.

Include files and folders that are labeled in the Finder - If this option is enabled, files and folders that have a label in the Finder will be included in a tidy. It can be handy to turn this off if the source folder has labels for all the important files and you'd like to move the rest to sorted folders.

Include files inside subfolders - By turning this option on, Folder Tidy will recursively go through all sub folders that exist inside the source folder and include them in the tidy. So for example, if Folder A --> Folder B --> Photo 1.png exists and Folder A is the source folder, then "Photo 1.png" will be moved to the appropriate place inside the destination folder.

Include folders that are empty - This option if enabled will ensure that even empty folders are included in the tidy. This is relevant since Folder Tidy has a default rule for moving all folders into a folder labelled "Folders" inside the destination folder. Whoa, that's a lot of folder references.

Ignore Files & Folders

Stacks Image 8215
Sometimes there will be files or folders that you'd like to have Folder Tidy ignore. This is exactly what this is for. Either drag the file or folder to ignore into the list, or use the plus button at the bottom right to choose. To remove an existing entry, simply click it once to highlight then either press the delete key or the minus button.

Built-in Tidy Rules

Stacks Image 8242
Rules - this is where Folder Tidy really shines. It's got almost 20 built-in rules, as can be seen in the above screenshot. There are rules for file types like PDF, Music, Source Code, Disk Images and many more. Each built-in rule has a description of what it's for and the name of the subfolder it will move files into. To get to the rules, open the Preferences and click on the "Rules" tab.

Each rule can be enabled or disabled by using the checkbox next to it. To quickly turn all rules on or off use the "Turn All On" or "Turn All Off" buttons in the bottom right of the window.

Rules can be reordered by dragging them.

If there is a lock icon next to a rule that means it's a built-in rule and cannot be edited or removed.

To edit a custom rule, simply double click it or click it once and choose the "Edit" button at the bottom left of the window.

Next up are custom rules...

Custom Tidy Rules

Stacks Image 8304
To start creating a custom tidy rule, click the plus button as indicated in the screenshot above.
Stacks Image 8288
This is an example of a custom rule. Let's go through the different parts:

1 - Description: This is what will be displayed for this rule under the Description column with all the other rules.

2 - Folder Name: The name of the folder that will be created to store all the files that match the rule's predicate. It's possible to include multiple folders in this if you'd like to have the files moved to a subfolder. For example, you might want to have multiple rules for photos and they all go to "Tidied Photos", and you'd like this one to go into "Tidied Photos/Vacation" then use that as the folder name.

3 - Rule Editor: This is the main part of a custom rule. The predicates that are created here form the basis of a complete rule. It's very similar to creating a search in Finder. You can combine predicates where all, some or none of them have to be true in order to move a particular file.

In this case, we've created three predicates that must all be true in order to move a file to the "Recent Screenshots" folder: the file must be a PNG picture, it must have the word "screenshot" somewhere in the name and it must be at most 14 days old.

Running a Tidy

For our example, let's see what happens to a folder full of screenshots (and many others) gets tidied with the custom screenshot rule. When running a tidy, you can enable as many rules as you'd like although for simplicity, we'll do just the one here.

Before the Tidy

Stacks Image 8384
Stacks Image 8328
Stacks Image 8344
Stacks Image 8352
Stacks Image 8360

After the Tidy

The tidy has finished. Notice how only the files that matched the custom rule got moved from "Messy Folder", and they all ended up in a folder labeled "Recent Screenshots" inside "Sorted Folder".

It's almost like magic.
Stacks Image 8422
Stacks Image 8430

Undoing a Tidy

Once a tidy has finished, there is an option to undo it and move all files back to their original locations.

This can be super handy if you decide you'd like to start over to tweak the rules.

The undo feature is only available while the app is still open. Once it's quit the current tidy cannot be undone.

To undo, simply click the "Undo Tidy" button in the window that appears when the tidy is finished.
Stacks Image 8446
Stacks Image 8462
Stacks Image 8454
All the files have been moved out of "Sorted Folder" and were put back to their original locations in "Messy Folder".


If you still have some questions, please check out the FAQ for Folder Tidy and if the answer isn't there, please feel free to email us anytime at support@tunabelly.com
who we are
Tunabelly Software Inc. is a Canadian software development company.
contact us
what we do
Specialize in making amazing macOS, tvOS and iOS apps.