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Don’t Be Fresh

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Fresh — is this app “Fresh” or is it “Exciting”?* Well, let’s talk about it. Just this week, the folks at Ironic Software released this clever little utility for all to use. When I first read the product information and watched the instructional videos, my interest was piqued with what the product could do for me.

So what does Fresh do? From the Ironic site, here is their description:

“Fresh was born on that sinking feeling we have whenever we head into the Finder to ‘Find’ that file that we are working on, just downloaded, or like to keep handy. Fresh is designed to hide itself when you are not using it — keeping your onscreen clutter of windows more manageable.”

Translated, Fresh does multiple things:

  1. Using the Fresh Files Zone, it’s a replacement for the Finder Recent Items/Folders/Drives feature.
  2. Using the Cooler Zone, it is an enhancement for the Open (not Save) dialog box in that you can quickly drag files as email attachments or insert files into another document via drag-and-drop.
  3. Using either zone, you can organize your items with tags and filter either the Fresh Files or Cooler Zones by those tags.

The Main UI

Let’s take a look at Fresh. Here is what the app looks like when launched:

Fresh main UI
Fresh Main UI

As you can see, the two zones are delineated by color (not customizable). The Fresh Files Zone is on top and shows the recently open/edited items. (Note, the blurred items are blurred by me, for privacy…that’s not a “feature” of any sort.)

The Cooler Zone below shows files that I have dragged into it for quick re-use (emails, discovery of files).

If you are a mouse-driven user, then the drag-and-drop Cooler Zone is very useful. If you are keyboard driven, then Fresh’s UI can be a little clunky to use. One good thing is that in the preferences, you can define a hotkey to bring Fresh to the forefront:

untitled5 Fresh Main Preferences


Within Fresh, it is pretty easy to Tag items either within the Fresh Files or within the Cooler Zones. Select an item, right-click it and then click Edit Tag.

I would argue that the folks at Ironic Software are pretty Tag “happy” seeing how they provide TagIt for free and the rest of their app suite supports tags (Yep, Leap, Deep).

Regardless, I don’t really see the point in tagging items within Fresh. The application seems more about discovery and convenience, not about “organization.”

Here is an example of the tag UI:

Fresh Tag UI Fresh Tag UI – Type your tags here


I would say that Fresh does have a bias toward the unorganized masses — no offense folks. For those who keep their desktops clean as well as their download folders empty, this application might not be that useful.

When I first installed it, I thought “hey, maybe I won’t need Default Folder X anymore.” Well, that was wishful thinking. Fresh is pretty, but it just isn’t that functional for someone like me (hyper organized anal retentive). However, for $9 it’s a cheap tool if you like a slick UI wrapped up in a one-trick pony.

My recommendation is to save the $9 and not buy Fresh. Use the Finder. Use Spotlight. They work and they are included in the OS for free.

* I know, I dated myself with this terrible music lyric reference. Get over it.

10 Responses to “Don’t Be Fresh”

  1. Even if fresh file zone doesn’t work any better than the find feature, at least you will know that this app already contains all of your most recent/ downloaded files. The cooler zone will definitely make one’s desktop less cluttered and should make finding documents easier and quicker. Some people who do not wish to get frustrated by cluttering their desktop will find themselves able to download more files without getting confused with the help of ‘Fresh.’

  2. Thanks for the review. I got it from MacHeist, but I’m still thinking if I want to install it. Half of the apps I get there I don’t get to use at all. I’ll probably do just to see how it goes, but I’m pretty much ok with using Spotlight for now.