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Creating Smart Playlists in iTunes

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 2/5/2009

If you follow my articles at Bright Hub you've seen the article on smart mailboxes in mail, and smart albums in iPhoto. Now it is time to cover the smart playlist in iTunes. Like the mailboxes and albums, a smart playlist lets you create a playlist based on certain parameters of your choice.

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    How To Make A Smart Playlist

    If you follow my articles at Bright Hub you've seen the article on smart mailboxes in mail, and smart albums in iPhoto. Now it is time to cover the smart playlist in iTunes. Like the mailboxes and albums, a smart playlist lets you create a playlist based on certain parameters of your choice. This can be by artist, or by a word in a song, or by genre of music, and more.

    To create a smart playlist open iTunes and go to the File menu and choose "New Smart Playlist." A window will open allowing you to set the parameters of your new smart playlist. This is where you pick the settings I mentioned above, and others. (figure 1) Click ~ezentity_quot+ezentity_quot~ to add parameters to the list.

    There are also several other options in this window. You can limit how many songs go into the playlist. If you do limit the songs you can set how these songs are chosen. Are they chosen at random? Are they limited to how many times you have played them? Are they restricted by how they are rated? The choice is up to you.

    You can also choose to only include checked items in your playlist. If you are like me, I have several albums in my iTunes library with some songs I don't care to hear anymore. I have them unchecked to avoid having them go on my iPod. Unchecking and choosing the option to only include checked items will also keep them out of this playlist.

    Finally there is the "Live Updating" option. Live updating is great if you are making a playlist that has no limit to how many tracks should be in it. For example, you might make a smart playlist to include all items that fall into the genre of Comedy. You make the list and all of your comedy albums fall into place. A month later you buy another album in this category. If you have "Live Updating" checked that album will instantly go into this playlist. You don't have to do anything.

    Once you have your parameters set click OK and the playlist will be created and filled instantly. It will appear with all of your other playlists, except it will have a purple icon with a gear on it to signify a smart playlist. (figure 2)

    A smart playlist does not have to be restricted to music. You can use it for videos, audiobooks, and podcasts too.

    To delete a smart playlist just click it and press delete on your keyboard.To change the parameters of a smart playlist control click the list and choose "Edit Smart Playlist.". You can then add, change, or delete parameters.

    That's all there is to it. Smart playlists are another way to keep your iTunes library organized.

    Next up, smart folders in the Finder.

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    Images

    figure 1figure 2