2 Advanced File Search Techniques for Your Mac

Alvaro Bernedo

Advanced Mac Search TipsJust a few days ago, we reviewed some very useful basic tips for improving file searching on your Mac using the Finder. This time, we’ll take a look at more advanced file searching tips that will allow you to harness the real power of your Mac’s searching capabilities through filters and the many ways in which they can be used.

Let’s get started.

1. Adding Filters to Searches

We already showed you in the previous post how you can set the Finder to search only within the currently open window. This time, let’s take a look at how to use the powerful filters that the Finder supports.

Using Keywords for Searches

A lot of Mac users don’t know that Finder windows support keywords to define the target of searches. For example, in the search box of any open Finder window, you can use keywords such as kind:, to:, date:, from: and more. Used before your search term, these keywords filter your content with great accuracy.

In Window Filter

Using Advanced Filters in Finder Windows

If the filter keywords mentioned above are not enough for you, there are more advanced filter that you can access by clicking on the Options icon and selecting the Show Search Criteria option.

Advanced Filter Open

This will open a far more detailed filter menu where you can pinpoint exactly which kind of file or document you are targeting your search for. This is thanks to the different filter levels that the option provides, allowing you to add as many as you need.

Advanced Filter

2. Saving and Creating Shortcuts of Your Searches

If you happen to search for any particular kind of file or document often, you can use the advanced search filters mentioned above to have your favorite searches at hand and thus avoid having to sort all those files manually in specific folders.

To do this, first you have to perform an advanced Finder search as shown above. Contrary to Spotlight searches, I find the ones performed using the Finder’s advanced filters far more accurate, but even more importantly, they allow you to save them.

Once you create a search you are happy with, look for the Save button and click on it. This will save your advanced search as a Smart folder.

Save Button

On the dialog box that pops up, name your new search, select the location where you want it saved and also make sure to check the Add to Sidebar option.

Add to Sidebar

From then onwards, your search will be accessible right from any Finder window with just one click. Even better, since these are smart folders, you can tailor your search to be dynamic, which will allow it to be always up to date with the files or documents you are interested in. For example, you could have it display only Word documents edited in the last week. Very powerful and convenient if you ask me.

On Sidebar

Additionally, by right-clicking on that search on the sidebar of any Finder window, you can also place it on the Dock of your Mac, edit it and even rename it, making it all that more flexible.

Add to Dock

Added to Dock

There you go, now you have all you need to always find any file or document on your Mac, and it’s all just a few clicks away.

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Alvaro Bernedo

Written By

Alvaro Bernedo

Contributor at Guiding Tech