Complex File Searches Using the macOS Finder

If you use the Find function in the Finder you can perform file searches that are much more complex than using Spotlight. You can add many pieces of criteria to the search other than a single search term. If you know how, you can use logic to combine search criteria and add very specific options. Then you can save your searches so you don't have to recreate them from scratch later.

Comments: 7 Responses to “Complex File Searches Using the macOS Finder”

    4 days ago

    Thanks, Gary. A very useful video.

    4 days ago

    Great video! I’ve been waiting for something like this for years. Thank you! The OPTION key opens a whole new world. Still have a question — in the “Name” criteria what is the difference between “is” and “matches”? When I search for, say, the Stocks app, and use “Name is Stocks” the search returns nothing, but when I use “Name matches Stocks” Finder finds the app.

    4 days ago

    Perry: “Is” will find that name exactly. “Matches” will find anything with a name that contains that text. The Stocks app’s file name is “”

    Jasper Robinson
    3 days ago

    Apparently the Smart Search Attribute “Document Container” can be used to exclude a folder but I’ve never managed to get it to work.

    Something like:
    Document Container…is not … FolderXYZ


    None of the following are true
    Document Container…contains…FolderXYZ

    should do it. Adding quotes to “FolderXYZ” doesn’t help.

    Am I using this wrongly? Or is there another way to achieve folder exclusions from Smart Searches? [Thanks!]

    3 days ago

    Hi Gary, sorry to trouble you. I cannot open the searching window as you do in the video.
    Clicking Command+F nothing happen
    Do I need to select something before ?
    Thanks and greetings from Italy

    3 days ago

    Paolo: Are you in the Finder?

    3 days ago

    Jasper: I don’t “Document Container” works like that. Even though the description seems to indicate that it is the containing folder, posts online seem to indicate that it is something less useful,, perhaps pertaining to iCloud or maybe the volume or something.

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