I previously used the option to add a smart folder to the sidebar on its creation. I've only done this in macOS Sierra, having never tried it in a previous OS version.

Not wanting the folder to be stored on the desktop, I moved it to the default suggested location of the 'saved searches' folder and it promptly disappeared from the sidebar.

Dragging it back is not possible.

I duplicated the smart folder to alter one of its search criteria. Now I have two smart folders with no apparent means of placing them in the sidebar other than negating any tools to duplicate and move smart folders and only rely upon creating new smart folders to reveal the sidebar option. This feels like an oversight from Apple.

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    I guess the answer is... If you remove a Smart Folder from the Sidebar and you want it back, you'll have to recreate the Smart Folder as that is how Apple programmed it. BTW, While a Smart Folder maybe intelligent :), it's not actually a Folder object, it an XML File that defines a search query which is displayed as a Folder and why it cannot be dragged and dropped onto the Sidebar. Yes, it would be nice to control-click a filename.savedSearch file and have an Add To Sidebar context menu command but Apple hasn't done it yet. Suggest you use: apple.com/feedback/macosx.html Oct 14, 2016 at 13:32
  • Yes, it still feels like an oversight when they allow various folder commands to be performed on the smart folder. From these, they certainly intend the user to perceive it as a folder, closer to the regular type. I'm aware of it not being stored in the file system as a typical folder but, again, Apple present it as such to the user and it feels like they missed this limitation in my original question. Sounds like there's no way around this so I'll add feedback to the link you provided, thanks. Oct 14, 2016 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


In Finder, select your Smart Folder (typically saved in ~/Library/Saved Searches, it's a .savedSearch file).

Then from the menu in Finder, select: File > Add to Sidebar    ^⌘T

Or after selecting the Smart Folder file, just press ^⌘T on the keyboard.

Note that in OS X 10.8 and earlier the keyboard short cut was: ⌘T

  • Thank you so much! This answers the question I had, too. Apr 29, 2019 at 19:50

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