Keep a Folder Update Log – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 169Keep a Folder Update Log

If you have a folder containing files that multiple users of your Mac access on a regular basis, you can make it so a dialog box showing a message pops up whenever the folder is accessed. Users can then add their own comments to the message (that is, something like “2/23/2013—Added some image files”), forming a log that describes who did what to the contents of the folder and why. You could even use this if you’re the only person using the Mac to remind yourself of additions or edits!

You can set this up as follows:

  1. Right-click the folder and select Get Info from the menu that appears. This trick uses the Spotlight Comments field of the Info dialog box to store the comments, and it’s necessary to add something to start off with. Something like the date, followed by Setup folder logging, will be sufficient.

  2. Close the info window, right-click the folder, and select from the menu that appears Folder Actions Setup (or possibly ServicesFolder Actions Setup). See Figure 31, Creating a folder logging system.

    Figure 31. Creating a folder logging system
  3. In the Choose a Script to Attach dialog box that appears, select open - show comments in dialog.scpt. Then close the dialog box.

Setup is now complete. When anybody opens the folder, a dialog box will appear where they can either click OK to dismiss the dialog, click the Open Comments button to add comments to the log (which will simply open the info window where they can type into the Spotlight Comments field, as earlier; to create a new line when typing, hold down Option), or click Clear Comments, which will wipe clean the Spotlight Comments field. Note that the dialog box stays on-screen for only a few seconds before it automatically dismisses itself. Note also that if you choose to clear the comments, the dialog won’t appear again until you repeat the previous step 1 and manually add new text to the Spotlight Comments field.

To remove the dialog box and log later, again right-click the folder, select Folder Actions Setup (or possibly ServicesFolder Actions Setup), and then click Cancel within the list of scripts that appears. In the Folder Actions Setup dialog box, select the folder on the left, and then hit the minus button beneath. Note that this won’t delete the folder. Instead, it will simply remove it from the list of folder actions.