Archive for the ‘FAQ’ Category

Folderol FAQ: How do I delete color swatches?

Victor writes: “How do you remove color swatches from the swatch collection.”

Do you mean the ones in the system color picker? These?
Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 9.27.18 AM
If so, follow these steps:

Click on the color picker tool (the dropper icon) and drag it to an empty square. Use the dropper to  “sample” the square

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 9.33.51 AM (2)
This  sample replaces the current color with “empty”
Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 9.35.36 AM
Now drag the “empty” color on top of any swatch you want to delete
Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 9.34.51 AM (2)
Boom, it’s gone:
Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 9.36.58 AM
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The ridiculous difficulty of getting aliased folders to update icons


think I’ve got it down but not in a form that I could recommend anyone else using. Ever. Here are the steps that seem to work after massive googlage.

1. Update original (non-alias) icon as desired.

2. Delete aliases (Yes doctor, kill the patient)

3. Trash cache.

sudo /usr/bin/find /private/var/folders/ -name -exec rm {} \;
sudo /usr/bin/find /private/var/folders/ -name -exec rm -rf {} \;
cd /Library/Caches/; sudo rm -rf

4. Log out and back in or reboot computer. (No, really.)

5. Recreate the aliases or symbolic links.

For anyone who wants a good laugh, search the web for OS X alias icons won’t update.

Utility: Finding untagged files and folders at the command-line

How do you find untagged items? This question popped up in #macdev for someone working on a Dropbox-based backup system of all things. So how do you find just those items in a folder that are untagged? Use mdfind:

mdfind -onlyin . "kMDItemUserTags != '*'" | open -f

If you switch that inequality to ==, you’ll retrieve all tagged items instead.

Folderol makes extensive use of tags. You can search for specific tags using names within the single parens, e.g. to find all the Green system tags:

mdfind -onlyin . "kMDItemUserTags == 'Green'" | open -f

The built in tag names are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, and Gray, but you can assign any tag name you like in Get Info or by using the tag field in Folderol. Then, with a liberal use of asterisks, you can search for, for example, items with tags that contain the word Neon or neon (the [c] means case insensitive).

mdfind -onlyin . "kMDItemUserTags ==[c] '*Neon*'" | open -f

Or tags that start with Neon

mdfind -onlyin . "kMDItemUserTags == 'Neon*'" | open -f

Or end with Neon

mdfind -onlyin . "kMDItemUserTags == 'Neon*'" | open -f

In addition to the [c], you can use [d] (or [cd]) to add diacritical insensitivity, so a search for “café” would also match “cafe”.

To find all Folderol-set custom color tags, search for “(*)”. This excludes standard system tags, although if you’ve tagged with both a custom tag and a system one, the file or folder will appear in the results.

mdfind -onlyin . "kMDItemUserTags == '*(\*)*'" | open -f

Folderol FAQ #5: What are these new app options?

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 7.41.32 AM


Folderol continues to evolve over time. The latest version (1.95) includes some new and re-stated options. A summary:

folders only: This option prevents folderol from coloring non-folder items like text files. It is enabled by default because OS X builds previews for many document types. When colored by folderol, you lose those document content hints.

tint and tag (OS X 10.9 and later)This option enables you to add custom tags as well when coloring items

replace icon entirely with custom image: This option swaps in your source image preventing icons from cropping to folders and other file shapes.

don’t blend custom image with original icon color: some users really didn’t like the way folderol blended images to the default blue folder color. This option better preserves source image hues.

fit custom image to icon: folderol normally adapts any art to the destination geometry, stretching or squashing the art to fit. Enabling this option forces the image to keep its original aspect ratio. This option may add padding effects (letterboxing or pillarboxing) to the final icon.


Folderol FAQ #4: I don’t see icons in list view / column view / etc

User writes:

I was very excited when I found out about your app. I rely on the label color function provided by finder,  but find it very limiting as it only has five colors.  But only folders in the icon view show up as colored  using folderol– at least in Mountain Lion.  I like to organize using the column view and the standard Mac color labeling works with that.
If you cannot see the custom folderol icons in any of the Finder views, make sure you’ve enabled icons in the Finder’s View > Show View Options (Command-J) pane. For this user, re-checking “show icons” fixed the problem.
Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 7.36.53 AM

Folderol FAQ #3: Avoiding color blending

Kent writes:

Just purchased folderol (v 1.9). I’m having a dilemma when adding custom images. Sometimes it blends the custom image into the blue color of the folder which changes the color of the image. Other times it doesn’t. I’d like to say I’ve figured out a pattern but I haven’t.


I don’t have examples to look at so it’s a little hard to diagnose. The active color is always blended to the image unless you choose to remove the active color or choose the do-not-blend option. 

Avoiding Hues: Once you clear the color, you’ll see a checked board background. Now when you add a custom image and drop a folder, the image will not blend with a hue.

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 09.09.56

Image 2-1-15 at 9.13 AM

Avoiding Image Blends. There’s also a further option called Don’t blend image to icon. When you enable this, the image will replace the folder instead of blend with it.

Here’s what all these options look like:

Original folder: 

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.21.28 AM

Blended with image (normal, no tint selected)

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.24.26 AM

Blended with image (pink/red tint selected)

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.25.31 AM

Do not blend option enabled (no blend with original folder art or the folder’s blue tint)

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.27.11 AM


Folderol FAQ #2: Preserving the original modification date

Jeff writes:
Hi Erica,
I just downloaded folderol.  I bought your product.  Please help. I’m a recent PhD who was very surprised with OS Mavericks taking away the colors of my files (not just the folders).  I had a system whereby color coded files would indicate which version of the draft I was working with.  Yellow for 1st, orange for 2nd, green for ready to go. It was great. When I use FOLDEROL to add color to a file, it sends that file to the top of the modified column on my macbookpro. It thereby loses the important DATE-TIME functionality. I no longer know which was my most recent version.

​Can you advise me on how to not have the modification be registered by time-date? ​

​Thanks, ​



I created a drag and drop utility called Mod Date Holder (download). Drop your files on it before using folderol and then drop them on again after. It should preserve your original modification dates.

This app creates a metadata key that stores the most recent modification date. Folderol will modify the file icon and update the modification time. Once folderol-ized, return to the utility and drop the file on again. This time, Mod Date Holder finds the metadata key it created, which stores the original modification date and updates the file to return it to that date.

You can check the stored date in any file from the command line as such. This uses the “print” (p) option for the xattr metadata command. The date appears as a number, which is a time interval offset from the OS X Epoch.

/usr/bin/xattr -p com.sadun.CustomModificationDateHoldKey <path to file>

Folderol FAQs #1: Does it work with Dropbox?

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 4.46.47 PMFreddy writes:

The color disappears when I move the folder to Dropbox. Any solution to prevent that? It seems to work sometimes now, about every second time I add a folder to Dropbox. Another problem is that the folder doesn’t appear colored anymore if I am reading it in Dropbox from another of my Macs. Do Folderol need to be installed on every computer to have it work?


The color should work on-your mac. It may not sync between macs. Dropbox’s folder icon sync problem is apparently longstanding.

More than you want to know:

The “dot” is specific to OS X Mavericks and will not be synced by Dropbox as it is part of the file metadata. You can see it from the command line by running “mdls”, e.g.

 mdls -name kMDItemUserTags /path/to/your/folder

 The icon is actually an invisible file inside the folder, placed there by the OS X workspace. You can see hidden files by running the two following lines in a terminal session:
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder

And to return the hidden files back to invisible:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
killall Finder