How to Control Find on Mac

Joel Mason

Mac, Tutorials

Are you struggling to find files or folders on your Mac? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

In this tutorial, we will show you how to effectively use the “Find” feature on your Mac to locate the items you need. Let’s get started!

Using Spotlight Search

If you’re looking for a quick way to search for files, applications, and other items on your Mac, Spotlight Search is the way to go. To open Spotlight Search, simply press Command + Spacebar. You will see a search bar in the middle of your screen.

Basic Searches

To perform a basic search using Spotlight Search, type in the name or keyword of the file or folder you’re looking for. As you type, Spotlight will display results in real-time. You can then click on any item in the list to open it.

Refining Your Search

If you’re dealing with a large number of search results, you can refine your search by using specific keywords or filters. For example, if you’re searching for a document created last week, simply type in the name of the document followed by “created:last week”. This will narrow down your results to only include files created during that time period.

Using Finder’s Advanced Search

If you need more control over your searches and want to perform advanced queries, Finder’s Advanced Search feature is perfect for you. Here’s how to use it:

Accessing Advanced Search

To access Advanced Search, open a Finder window and click on the magnifying glass icon at the top right corner of the window. This will open a dropdown menu with various search options. Select “Show Search Criteria” to open Advanced Search.

Building Your Query

Advanced Search allows you to build complex queries using multiple search criteria. You can search by file name, file type, date modified, and more. To add a search criterion, click on the “+” button on the right side of the search bar.

  • File Name: Enter the name or part of the name of the file you’re looking for.
  • File Type: Specify the type of file you want to find (e.g., PDF, image, text document).
  • Date Modified: Narrow down your search results by specifying a specific date or a range of dates.

Saving Your Search

If you frequently perform the same searches, you can save them as Smart Folders. To do this, click on the “Save” button in Advanced Search and give your Smart Folder a name. Your Smart Folder will now appear in the sidebar of your Finder window for easy access.

Tips and Tricks

To make your searches even more effective and efficient, here are some additional tips:

  • Use Boolean Operators: You can use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to refine your search queries. For example, if you’re looking for files that contain both “apple” and “pie”, type “apple AND pie”.
  • Search within Specific Locations: By default, Spotlight Search and Advanced Search will search your entire Mac.

    However, you can specify a particular folder or directory to narrow down your results.

  • Use Wildcards: If you’re unsure about the exact spelling or name of a file or folder, use wildcards (* or ?) to represent unknown characters. For example, if you’re looking for a file called “document” but not sure about the extension, type “doc*”.


With the powerful “Find” feature on your Mac, locating files and folders has never been easier. Whether you prefer using Spotlight Search for quick searches or Advanced Search for more complex queries, you now have the knowledge to navigate through your Mac’s files effortlessly. Happy searching!

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