Creating Smart Playlists in iTunes

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Introduction to Smart Playlists

making smart playlist in itunes
Creating a Smart Playlist.

One of the many great features of iTunes is Smart Playlists. Smart Playlists let you automatically create playlists of songs that fit criteria that you define.

For example, you can create a Smart Playlist that contains only songs that you have rated 5 stars, only songs you have played more than 50 times, or only songs added to your iTunes library in the last 30 days.

The tools used to create Smart Playlists are powerful and let you create all kinds of interesting and fun playlists. They can even be updated automatically when changes to your iTunes library are made (for instance, if your Smart Playlist contains only songs rated 5 stars, whenever you rate a new song 5 stars it will be added to the Smart Playlist automatically).

Here's how to create Smart Playlists to enhance your iTunes experience.

There are two ways to create a Smart Playlist:

  1. Go to the File menu, click New, and then choose Smart Playlist
  2. Click on the Playlists tab in iTunes and then click on the + icon and select New Smart Playlist.
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The Smart Playlist Window

creating a smart playlist
Choosing Smart Playlist Options.

A window will pop up in which you can choose the criteria that determine what songs are included in your Smart Playlist. Smart Playlists have many options. The first thing you should do is decide what rule you want to match songs to.

  1. Select the thing from the first drop down that you want to match--artist, rating, when you added it, etc.
  2. Choose whether you want an exact match, a loose match (contains, is, is not, etc.), or other options
  3. Enter the thing to be matched. If you want 5 star songs, enter that. If you want only songs by Willie Nelson, type in his name
  4. To add more matching criteria, click the + button at the end of the row. Each new row you add allows you to add new matching criteria to make a more specific playlist tailored to your exact preferences. To remove criteria, click the minus button
  5. You can limit a Smart Playlist to a certain number of songs or can leave it unlimited
  6. If you check Match only checked items, items in iTunes that are not checked (as seen in the checkbox to the left of each song in your iTunes library and used to sync only some songs) will not be included in the Smart Playlist
  7. If you want the Smart Playlist to be automatically updated every time a change is made to iTunes that matches your Smart Playlist rule, check the box next to Live updating.

Once you've created all the rules for your Smart Playlist, click OK.

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Naming and Syncing the Smart Playlist

make a smart playlist
Naming a Smart Playlist.

After clicking OK, iTunes creates your Smart Playlist virtually instantaneously. The new playlist will appear in iTunes and its title with be highlighted so you can give it a new name. Just type in the name you want it to have, click outside the title area or hit the Enter key, and you're ready to rock.

Now that you've got your Smart Playlist, here are a few things you can do with it: