3/16/219:00 am Mac Basics: Searching For Files Learn how to search for files in the Finder. You can simply search for words in the names or contents of files, or perform more complex searches in specific locations and for dates, file types and other criteria. Lots of advanced tips too. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you the basics of searching for files on your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 900 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So when you want to search for files on your Mac you may be tempted to use Spotlight, either Command Space or click here. This will bring up Spotlight Search which gives you results for a variety of different things. But if you really just want to find a file the best way to do it is in the Finder. Go to the Finder and if you don't already have a window open you could go to File, New Finder Window. Then from here you can start a search by clicking on this box right here. You could also use Command F but, depending upon your settings, that may open up a new tab. Also Option Command F will bring up a New Finder Window and select the search box all in one shortcut. Now to start a search all you need to do is type something here. You're going to get a variety of results. Now what you type is going to be matched both with the name of the file but also other things having to do with that file. Like the contents of the file or the type of file. You'll get some selections here. Like I can select just to search for the text I've typed in the file name. It will also show me other things like Kinds or Tags. So if I wanted to limit this to only results that have this word in the file name I could select this here. You could see now it says Name project. I could click here and switch to Everything and it will show me results that also contain that word in the contents of the file. Now also notice that you have your Search area. Here is says Search and it's This Mac or Documents. Why Documents? Well that's where I was when I started the search. So you can switch between searching your entire Mac, all of the hard drives connected to your Mac, or just the location you were in before. Now you can customize this in Finder Preferences and then under Advanced you can look here, When performing a search, Search the current folder, Search this Mac, or Use the Previous Search Scope. Basically what you want to do is to make sure you're in the right location before you start a search. So I'm going to click the X button here to go back to my Documents folder. Let's say I know the file I want is in my Reports folder. So let's go into there first and then start the search. Now when I search for Project I'll only get results that are in the Reports folder. But I could switch to the entire Mac if I want. Now instead of typing the name here and having to click Name Matches and then you see it says Name Project, I could actually type it all out. I could type Name colon and then the text that I want to match to the name. This will just search the names of the files, not the contents. I could click here but I don't need to. It's already doing that search. I could do that with other things as well. For instance I could type Date today and it will only give me results for things that have been opened, created, or modified today. I could actually just type today and then click today, or I could type a specific date. So 3 / 4 will come up with the date, Thursday March 4th. I can click that and it will give me files that were either created, modified, or opened on March 4th. The same thing with Kind. I can type something that matches to a kind of file. Like pdf. You could see here I can select pdf or I can just type K ind colon pdf and it will return files of that kind. So here I've typed the word report and it has given me a lot of results. I can add more criteria to this. I can get very specific with my search. Notice to the right here I've got a Plus button. I click that Plus button and here it gives me criteria and what it matches. So right now its Kind is Any. But if I wanted to say Kind is pdf it would limit the search to things that have report either in the name or content and Kind is pdf. But I can change that to something else. Like the last opened date. Then I can say things like, is within the last 30 days, or maybe is within the last 1 day. I can choose dates that are exactly before and after. I can use things like today, yesterday, this week, this month, or this year. For something like Name I could say Name matches but also contains, begins with, ends with, is exactly something, or is not exactly something. I can search for Content. For instance I know the word wombat appears in some of these. So now I can find the files that have Report in the name or the contents of the file but also the contents have to contain the word wombat. It's just these three. You could add more criteria as well. I could click the Plus button here and say, well the Kind also has to be pdf. That narrows it down to that one file. You can always remove some of this criteria by using the minus button. If you want to get more complex you can hold the Option key down. Notice the Plus button changes to three dots. If I click that I get a Conditional here, Any, All, or None of the following. So you see Kind is now indented under Any. So I could do something like None and say Kind is pdf. So instead of finding files that are pdf's it's going to find files that are not pdf's. So now I'm looking for things that have report in the name or contents of the file, the contents also contain the word wombat, and the Kind is not pdf because I'm using None here. Now I know I'm often asked about wild cards and you can't really use wild cards, like an asterisk, in here to find something. But you can type something like say Project space and notice I've got project report alpha, beta, delta, gamma. I could say Project beta and notice it will find the file that has both of those words there in the name. So in most cases you don't need wild cards. Just type what you want in here and it will find it for you. Now what can you do with this list once you've completed a search. Here I searched for the word work and you could see there are a bunch of results here. Well one thing I could do is I could select a file. I look at the bottom here and I'll see the full path to it. So if I want to know where that file is I could see that here. I could double click on one of these folders here, like Reports, and it will actually go to the Reports folder. But I could also Control Click, right click, or two-finger click on a trackpad and then select Show Enclosing Folder and it will take me to that folder. The Shortcut for that is Command R. If you want to preview the file you could use QuickLook. So a quick tap on the Spacebar brings up QuickLook for the file. But you could also use View and then Show Preview. It brings up the Preview pane here in the search results just like you would see it in any Finder window. So I can now look through all of these different files and see a preview here on the right. Note that even though List View is the default view here, which is handy because then you could sort by Kind or Control Click here in the Header row and add things like Size and then say Sort by Size. You could also switch the view. So you can go to Icon View for your results. You can go to Column View for the results. You can also go to Gallery View which is really useful if your results are mostly images. So now I have a large preview in the middle here and I can click or use the arrow keys to go between the results of the search and find the file I want. Of course if you want to Open the file just double click it and it will open it in its default app. Now there are a lot of cool features in Finder searches. Way too many to go into here in a tutorial that's meant to go over the basics. But I'll show you a couple of them. One is you could Save a Search. So here I'm searching for work in the Reports folder. If I click Save it will save it as a Saved Search. I could place that Saved Search anywhere I want. By default it's going to go in my special Saved Searches folder. But I could put it in my Documents folder, on the Desktop, anywhere I want. I can select Add to Sidebar. When I do this search is now here on the left. So I could be looking at my Documents folder, say, and click here to instantly go to those search results. It would be updated, of course, to have any new files that now match this search. When you add criteria to a search, like this, you could do things like Kind, Date, and all that. But you could go to Other and there are a ton of different pieces of criteria you can add. Some specific to certain types of files. Like a lot of these, for instance, exposure mode would have to do with photos. But say you wanted to add something like File Size. You could select it here. If you wanted it to appear in the menu at all times you could check the box here. So now I could search by File Size, Equals, Less Than, Greater Than, Is Not, and then a certain size here. Notice that File Size is now going to remain in this list. So I can use it easily in the future without having to go to Other. One last tip. You can use Boolean search terms like and, or to search for things. So, for instance, I could search for something like Project Or Alpha and the key is to capitalize Or. Now it's going to show me files that have Project Or the word Alpha in either the name or contents of the file. But I could also say Not and it will show me files that have Project but Not the word alpha. I could also specify things like Project Not Kind pdf. It will show me things that match Project but are not pdf's. I can even use parentheses. So I can say something like (Kind pdf Or Kind jpeg) and then And and then say Name must have work in it. I'll get results that match that complex Boolean structure. So that's the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot more that you could do to narrow down your Search. But the whole idea is to be able to find the file or files that you're looking for and that should give you the basic tools to be able to do that. Related Subjects: Finder (285 videos), Mac Basics (31 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: One Response to “Mac Basics: Searching For Files” Toby Robert 3 years ago Hi Gary, Just wanted to say thank you so much for your Tips. Every video has something I didn't know, even something simple like Booleian logic in searching for files. So glad to have discovered you last month, and to be a supporter. Keep up the good work. This is probably as much a reflection on my laziness as your diligence! 😂😂 Comments Closed.