It's easy to set up playlists in iTunes, although it can be time consuming, particularly if you have a large library of songs (and who doesn't?).
You can use the handy Smart Playlist feature to make iTunes do most of the work for you. You can create a Smart Playlist based on the rule(s) of your choice, such as all the tracks by one of your favorite artists, all the tracks to which you've assigned a 5-star rating, or all the tracks in a particular genre, such as 'holiday.'
You can create a Smart Playlist that's based on a long list of criteria but in this Quick Tip, we're going to create a simple Smart Playlist based on a single rule.
Create a Simple Smart Playlist
- To create a Smart Playlist, from the File menu, select 'New Smart Playlist.'
- The default Smart Playlist is based on a single rule, but you can add more rules as needed. There are more than three dozen criteria to choose from, as you'll see if you click the Artist dropdown menu. You can sort tracks by artist, album, compilation, category, genre, plays, and rating, among other possibilities. You can create Smart Playlists for any iTunes media, not just tracks, but we're going to focus on music.
- After you make a selection from the Artist dropdown menu, make a selection from the 'contains' dropdown menu (contains, does not contain, is, is not, starts with, or ends with), then enter the appropriate search term in the blank field. For example, if you want to create a Smart Playlist that contains all of your Dave Matthews tracks, including tracks by the Dave Matthews Band, you might set up the following rule:
Artist contains Dave Matthews
- Any track that has Dave Matthews in its name, such as Dave Matthews Band, will be added to the playlist.
- If you want to limit the Smart List to solo tracks by Dave Matthews, you might set up the following rule:
Artist is Dave Matthews
- Any track that has Dave Matthews, but nothing else, in its name will be added to the playlist. Tracks that have Dave Matthews Band in their name won't be added to the playlist.
- You can limit a Smart Playlist to a certain number of items, minutes, hours, MB, or GB by putting a check mark next to 'Limit to' and selecting the appropriate entry from the 'items' dropdown menu. Select the appropriate entry from the 'random' dropdown menu if you want the items (or whatever you selected from the 'items' dropdown menu) to be selected other than at random.
- If you want the Smart Playlist to be automatically updated when you add matching tracks to your iTunes Library, put a check mark next to 'Live updating.' (This option is selected by default; you can uncheck it if you don't want the Smart Playlist to be updated automatically.)