Today, I’m going to show you something really cool and useful: the Folder Watcher integration in Home Assistant. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry—I’ll explain everything in simple terms.

What is Folder Watcher?

Folder Watcher is a feature in Home Assistant that monitors files in certain folders. Whenever a file is created, deleted, modified, or moved in those folders, Folder Watcher will notice and can trigger a Home Assistant automation.

Setting Up Folder Watcher

Prefer a video?

No problem, here is my video tutorial:

Step 1: Allow Home Assistant to Access Folders

Before you can use Folder Watcher, you need to tell Home Assistant which folders to monitor. These folders must be added to allowlist_external_dirs, which is like giving Home Assistant permission to access these folders.

Step 2: Using the File Editor Add-On

Here’s how to set it up:

  • Install the File Editor Add-On:
    • Go to the Add-On Store in Home Assistant.
    • Start the add-on and optionally enable the sidebar option for easy access. If you don’t have the Add-On Store, you’re likely using Home Assistant Container or Core. In that case, use a text editor to edit your configuration file directly.
    • Search for “File Editor” and click “Install”.
  • Edit the Configuration File:
    • Open the File Editor and browse to your configuration file (configuration.yaml).
    • Add the folders you want to monitor to the allowlist_external_dirs section.
    - /config/subscribe

Be careful with indentation, as YAML files are sensitive to it.

Step 3: Create the Monitored Folder

In the File Editor, create the folder you want to monitor. For example, create a folder named subscribe under the Home Assistant /homeassistant directory.

Have in mind that the /homeassistant and /config folders are some kind of aliases. You have to create your folders inside /homeassistant folder ( ex. /homeassistant/YOUR_FOLDER ), but you have to refer to them as /config/YOUR_FOLDER. Go figure…

Step 4: Restart Home Assistant

After making these changes, restart Home Assistant to apply the new settings.

Adding the Folder Watcher Integration

Now that your folders are set up, you can add the Folder Watcher integration:

  • Navigate to Integrations:
    • Press the “c” button and type “Integrations”, then select “Navigate Integrations”.
    • Click on “Add Integration” and search for “Folder Watcher”.
  • Configure Folder Watcher:
    • Select the folder you want to watch (ex. /config/subscribe).
    • You can add patterns or filters to specify which files to monitor. For example, using *.txt will monitor only text files. If you want to monitor everything, leave the default pattern (use *)
Home Assistant Folder Watcher integration in action
Home Assistant Folder Watcher integration in action

Creating Automations with Folder Watcher

Now, let’s create an automation using Folder Watcher:

  • Create a New Automation:
    • Press the “c” button, type “Automations”, and select “Navigate Automations”.
    • Click on “Create Automation” and then “Create New Automation” to choose an empty template.
  • Use a Predefined Example:
    • Get the YAML code from the example automation below.
    • Paste this code into your new automation in Home Assistant, making any necessary adjustments.

Here’s an example of a simple automation:

alias: New file alert
description: ""
  - platform: event
    event_type: folder_watcher
      event_type: created
  - service: notify.telegram
      title: New image captured!
      message: Created {{ }} in {{ }}
        file: "{{ }}"
  - service: persistent_notification.create
    metadata: {}
      message: Created {{ }} in {{ }}
  • Customize the Automation:
    • You can change the action to use different notification methods, such as sending a message via HA Companion App, Telegram, Gmail, etc.
  • Save and Test:
    • Save the automation and restart Home Assistant to activate it.
    • Test the automation by creating a file in the subscribe folder. You should receive a notification.

Home Assistant Webinar?

You’ve successfully set up the Folder Watcher integration in Home Assistant and created an automation to notify you of file changes.

Feel free to join my free Home Assistant webinar.

Thanks for reading, and until next time!


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