It’s no secret that Hazel by Noodlesoft is one of my favorite applications for keeping my paperless documents organized on the Mac. Today I felt the need to talk about an insanely useful feature introduced in version 4: the Hazel Preview Button.
(Windows users, a Hazel-y tool for you is called DropIt, though that doesn’t have the feature I am going to describe here.)
To use Hazel for going paperless, what we’re doing is having it recognize the text inside our PDFs. It then recognizes the bill or other document and automatically names it and files it away.
If you’ve done this, you will know that it can sometimes be a bit fiddly getting your rule set up just right. It can sometimes take a few times of going back and forth before it recognizes the text and takes action.
The Preview button, which is my new best friend, eliminates that back and forth. You can tell if your rule is going to work before you even hit Save.
Let’s take a look at how it works. I am setting up a rule and to move a receipt that I receive every month. In this case I have it mostly set up, but I could have done what I am about to do earlier in the process.
I’ll hit the Preview button to get the party started.
Next it will ask me for a file to Preview my rule against. I’ll choose one of the receipts I want to automatically move. When I choose my file and hit Open, it will test my rule against this PDF.
Now the preview is going. I can see that two of my conditions pass, but one of them has a red X which means what I am telling Hazel to look for is not in my sample PDF. This means that once I save the rule, it is not going to work. As far as Hazel can tell, the word “Honeyleen” does not exist in my PDF.
Once I change that third condition to look for “Upwork Global”, the preview changes to a green checkmark and it says Rule Matches beside the Preview button. Success! I am confident that the rule will work when I hit OK to save it.
This Preview button introduced in Hazel 4 is one of those seemingly small features that makes a piece of software even more of a pleasure to use. I love this button.