Search Using Wildcards On a Mac

While it may not seem like you can use wildcards in a Spotlight search on a Mac, you can use a variety of options to get the same result with a normal search, and then regular wildcard searches when using Raw Query as your search type.

Comments: 7 Responses to “Search Using Wildcards On a Mac”

    8 months ago

    Gary, I'm forever amazed at the depth of knowledge you demonstrate on a daily basis. Where you discover all these life-saving goodies is beyond me. The only way to make this wildcard subject even better is; perhaps you'd be willing to create a cheat sheet.

    Joe Grillo
    6 months ago

    I agree with SteveH's comments. I usually learn a lot with your vignettes and this was one of the better ones for me. One thing I was really looking for was the next level search ie how do I search a pdf for a word.
    Good job - Thank you

    6 months ago

    Joe: In general, just search for the word. The most basic search in the Finder will look for the name and contents. So if the a word appears in a PDF, it should show up. Of course a PDF could contain images with words printed on them instead of actual text, so it may look like it contains that word, but in fact it only contains an image with the word on it. Or, sometimes PDFs can be locked or protected so they can't be indexed.

    Senor Wheel
    5 months ago

    Searching in the Finder is super easy. How do you list certain files in a directory in Terminal using wildcards?

    5 months ago

    Senor: You could do that with something like this, which would show all files ending with .txt

    ls *.txt
    3 months ago

    How do I find non-blank fields?
    Specifically, I want to find all cards in Contacts that have text in the Notes field.
    The Search for "is set" option does not work. Once a field "is set" to any value the field always has a "is set" status even if all data in the field is deleted.

    3 months ago

    Corky: Not sure if that is possible. You may just have to flip (arrow key) down the list and see which notes have text in them. Or, export to Numbers and look there in the Notes column.

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