A brief homage to Hazel

Hazel was one of the first automators I invested in for my Mac, and whilst I don’t use it anywhere near as extensively as is possible (see Noodlesoft blog for some ideas) it is a cornerstone of my document processing.  Here are my Hazel rules:

my Hazel rules

Downloads: This is the most complicated set of rules. All my downloaded files go into a single folder, which Hazel then processes.  It:

  • Imports any downloaded music into iTunes, and then deletes it (iTunes saves a copy)
  • Moves downloaded movies into the ‘Movies’ folder
  • Moves disk images to a dedicated folder (which is separately monitored by Hazel)
  • Moves pictures to the ‘Pictures’ folder (which has its own set of rules)
  • Deletes any Torrents that are more than a week old
  • Deletes files that are more than 3 months old
  • Highlights any files that are more than 1 month old in yellow
  • Highlights large files in purple
  • Deletes any empty folders
  • Applies these rules to any sub-folders.

Music: This is a ‘hygiene’ rule that deletes any music sat in the Music folder for more than a week (all my iTunes tracks are stored in my ~user/public folder for ease of sharing with my wife’s account)

Documents: These rules routinely clear out the disk images put there by the downloads rule.  In addition it deletes empty folders and processes any sub-folders.  At one point I had what I thought was a snazzy rule to archive documents more than 3 months old, and another to restore any documents in the archive that were accessed back to the Documents folder, but it’s fair to say that due to my limited coding skills I put Hazel into an infinite loop and chewed up my older file structures something rotten.

Archive; As per above, all rules in this folder are currently disabled; they were originally designed to look for recently modified files and restore them out of the archive folder to the Documents folder.

ToEvernote: A simple rule that uses an Applescript to post any file put into the folder to my Evernote account; it then deletes the file.

Pictures: This is another complex rule, and is triggered by an autoimport of any pictures on my Compact Flash Card (using imagecapture and autoimporter) to download my RAW (.CR2) files into the pictures folder.  From there, Hazel puts each picture into a folder named by the date the file was created. (so pictures taken on 16th November 2012 go into a folder called 2012-11-16).  It also puts any movies downloaded from my camera into the Movies folder.

Movies: As per the pictures folder, Hazel sorts movies into dated subfolders for me.

That’s how I currently use Hazel; I’m sure it has its holes and inefficiencies but it’s my starter for 10 and I find the downloads and pictures rules a real lifesaver.

A lot of discussion is out there on the Web about using Hazel and Dropbox together as a backup solution; as I have Time Machine and Crashplan working together I’m not convinced I need it; if I anyone out there has examples where Hazel/Dropbox have been used alongside other solutions like Crashplan I would love to hear them.



  1. For implementing GTD you can use this application:


    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

    1. Sounds similar to how I currently use Nozbe…do you offer a trial version? Always interested in exploring alternatives to my current tool set!

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