Trending September 2023 # How To Improve File Search On Macos # Suggested October 2023 # Top 14 Popular |

Trending September 2023 # How To Improve File Search On Macos # Suggested October 2023 # Top 14 Popular

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Searching on your Mac can be a little bit of a pain. The built-in search box for Finder is powerful, but if often searches for way more than you expected. The following are some search techniques for you to improve file search on macOS.

1. Use search operators

When searching in the Finder search box, you can limit your scope by specifying file attributes with certain search operators.

Text operators

The operator is specified like so






The file type can be almost anything, from a word like “document” to an extension like .docx.

Similarly, you can use the date operator to limit your scope to files of a certain date or recency. Using date:today will only search for files from today.


You can further narrow your search by using the created and modified operators which accept an eight-digit date, like so:

created: 01





modifier: 04





Smart operators

We’re not only limited to text-based operators. We can also use a series of smart operators.

2. Search current folder

By default, Finder will search your entire system when you type in the search box. Set it to default to your current folder instead for more precise searches.

1. Open Finder’s preferences under the Finder menu.

3. Change the dropdown box to “Search the Current Folder” to limit your searches.

If you don’t mind putting in a little legwork ahead of time, you can make it easier to find important files in the future. Let’s say you have a variety of documents for your taxes, but they aren’t all in the same folder. If you set one of the built-in color tags to “taxes,” you can search based on that term and find files from anywhere.

Using Tags

Later, you can search by the color or name of those tags.

4. Save searches

If you make the same search regularly, you can save it for later as a saved search, which will appear in the sidebar.

Make sure that “Add to Sidebar” is checked to keep the search in your sidebar for later.

Expand with other tools

These tips we’ve shown are just for Finder. You can expand your searching power with other tools. EasyFind will search through every file on your system, including system files. Path Finder is a Finder-replacement utility that includes powerful search and filtering tools. Alfred can search by file name instantly, with more power to expand than Spotlight.

Alexander Fox

Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.

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