Fresh: Easy Access to Recent Files

With the introduction of Spotlight and system wide smart folders, Apple took a big step forward in making your local files far easier to search and organize. Many complementary tools exist to help tag and label files, and Fresh is a new app which provides a simple way to display and interact with the most recently added/edited files on your Mac.

Fresh takes the form of a floating interface, showing a graphical list of recent files. You’re able to drag and drop a file from Fresh to anywhere in your system, double click a file to continue working with it, or store files in the ‘Cooler’, a virtual space for making regularly edited files easily accessible. This review will outline the main features of Fresh and show you how to download the app for free (usually $9).

The Main Interface

The main Fresh interface

The main Fresh interface

The main Fresh interface can be brought up by clicking the dock icon, or a user-defined keyboard shortcut. The size of the display will stretch to match the width of the screen you’re currently using.

The top bar shows the most recent files which have been edited or added to your Mac. The second bar is the ‘Cooler’ – a location to drag and drop files for easy access at a later date. These can either be dragged from within Fresh itself, or from the Finder. The file is not moved, but a shortcut to it is created within Fresh. It’s a great way to have a visual dropbox for accessing regularly used files.

Interacting With Files

It’s possible to open a file from Fresh by double clicking it. You can also drag and drop files from the app to anywhere else on your computer. Here’s an example of selecting several files and dragging them into an email:

Dragging files into an email

Dragging files into an email

The functionality is fairly basic, and this is about as far as the app goes. The main example used in the tutorial videos is how Fresh can simplify accessing recently downloaded files from your cluttered ‘Downloads’ folder. This is certainly a valid scenario, and if you’re someone who uses a “throw everything in a folder and search for it later” policy, Fresh could be really useful.

Excluding Files and Folders

You may find that there are certain files which you edit regularly but don’t need to display in Fresh. Excluding these is as simple as right clicking the icon and selecting “Never Show xxx”:

Telling Fresh to exclude certain files and folders

Telling Fresh to exclude certain files and folders

You can also elect not to show files of a certain extension, and maintain a list of folders which Fresh will ignore if desired (this can be accessed through the application preferences).

Tagging and Searching

The final piece of functionality to note is the ability to tag and search files. Hitting ‘Enter’ after selecting a file in Fresh will bring up a tag dialog. You can assign a number of keywords to a file if you’d like to easily find it at a later date:

Tagging and searching your Fresh files

Tagging and searching your Fresh files

It’s worth noting that these tags integrate with Spotlight through the following syntax:


Simply replace ‘keyword’ with the name of a tag, and Spotlight will search your system for all related files. This is a great way to combine the ease of tagging in Fresh with the search power of Spotlight. It is of course also possible to initiate a search from within Fresh itself by hitting Apple+F.

Download Fresh for Free via MacHeist

Normally priced at $9, you can download Fresh for free through the MacHeist software promotion. Simply create an account and view the ‘Loot’ section to generate your serial code for the application. The license is valid for all 1.x releases of Fresh, so you’re eligible for several updates to the app as well.

It’s a great way to try Fresh out for a longer period to decide if it’s a tool you find easy to use.


As someone who already has a system for keeping OS X fairly well organized and clutter-free, I find Fresh to be a little redundant. I’m planning to try using it for storing files I regularly access in the ‘Cooler’, but expect I’ll revert to using a Stack after a few days.

That said, Fresh does have a great interface and was bug-free as far as I could tell. It’s a simple tool, gets out of your way when not needed, and performs the task it was designed to do very well.