With the Finder active, display the Find controls by pressing Command+F (or choose File from the Finder menu and then choose Find). Mac OS X displays the controls that you see here. Click the buttons at the top of the list to specify where you want to search. You can choose This Mac (your entire system, including network volumes) or a local volume. Mac OS X includes a program called Spotlight that does more than just find files; it can do math and find word definitions, and you can download plug-ins for even more usability. Tweaking Spotlight’s settings can speed up the search process and protect personal files. This video gives you the lowdown on making the most out of Spotlight. File Search is an essential part of Alfred's search functionality. It allows you to expand your search, navigate your Mac's directories and take action on files you. There several ways to find files in OS X, the most popular of which are GUI-based routines such as the Spotlight menu and the Finder search, both of which offer quick access to the system's.

The Finder is the first thing that you see when your Mac finishes starting up. It opens automatically and stays open as you use other apps. It includes the Finder menu bar at the top of the screen and the desktop below that. It uses windows and icons to show you the contents of your Mac, iCloud Drive, and other storage devices. It's called the Finder because it helps you to find and organize your files.

For those with a lot of files, or Mac users badly in need of making more hard drive space, CleanMyMac X is an invaluable tool. We hope you found this article useful about how to locate and copy the file path details when searching for what you need.

Open windows and files

To open a window and see the files on your Mac, switch to the Finder by clicking the Finder icon (pictured above) in the Dock. Switching to the Finder also reveals any Finder windows that might be hidden behind the windows of other apps. You can drag to resize windows and use the buttons to close , minimize , or maximize windows. Learn more about managing windows.

When you see a document, app, or other file that you want to open, just double-click it.

Change how your files are displayed

To change how files are displayed in Finder windows, use the View menu in the menu bar, or the row of buttons at the top of the Finder window. You can view files as icons , in a list , in columns , or in a gallery . And for each view, the View menu provides options to change how items are sorted and arranged, such as by kind, date, or size. Learn more about customizing views.

When you view files in a gallery, you can browse your files visually using large previews, so it's easy to identify images, videos, and all kinds of documents. Gallery View in macOS Mojave even lets you play videos and scroll through multipage documents. Earlier versions of macOS have a similar but less powerful gallery view called Cover Flow .


Gallery View in macOS Mojave, showing the sidebar on the left and the Preview pane on the right.

Use the Preview pane

The Preview pane is available in all views by choosing View > Show Preview from the menu bar. Or press Shift-Command (⌘)-P to quickly show or hide the Preview pane.

macOS Mojave enhances the Preview pane in several ways:

  • More information, including detailed metadata, can be shown for each file. This is particularly useful when working with photos and media, because key EXIF data, like camera model and aperture value, are easy to locate. Choose View > Preview Options to control what information the Preview pane can show for the kind of file selected.
  • Quick Actions let you easily manage or edit the selected file.

Use Quick Actions in the Preview pane

With Quick Actions in macOS Mojave, you can take actions on a file without opening an app. Quick Actions appear at the bottom of the Preview pane and vary depending on the kind of file selected.

  • Rotate an image
  • Mark up an image or PDF
  • Combine images and PDFs into a single PDF file
  • Trim audio and video files

To manage Quick Actions, click More , then choose Customize. macOS Mojave includes a standard set of Quick Actions, but Quick Actions installed by third-party apps also appear here. You can even create your own Quick Actions using Automator.

Use Stacks on your desktop

macOS Mojave introduces Stacks, which lets you automatically organize your desktop into neat stacks of files, so it's easy to keep your desktop tidy and find exactly what you're looking for. Learn more about Stacks.

The sidebar in Finder windows contains shortcuts to AirDrop, commonly used folders, iCloud Drive, devices such your hard drives, and more. Like items in the Dock, items in the sidebar open with just one click.

To change the items in your sidebar, choose Finder > Preferences from the Finder menu bar, then click Sidebar at the top of the preferences window. You can also drag files into or out of the sidebar. Learn more about customizing the sidebar.

Search for files

To search with Spotlight, click the magnifying glass in the menu bar, or press Command–Space bar. Spotlight is similar to Quick Search on iPhone or iPad. Learn more about Spotlight.

To search from a Finder window, use the search field in the corner of the window:


When you select a search result, its location appears at the bottom of the window. To get to this view from Spotlight, choose “Show all in Finder” from the bottom of the Spotlight search results.

In both Spotlight and Finder, you can use advanced searches to narrow your search results.

Delete files

To move a file to the Trash, drag the file to the Trash in the Dock. Or select one or more files and choose File > Move To Trash (Command-Delete).

To remove a file from the Trash, click the Trash to open it, then drag the file out of the Trash. Or select the file and choose File > Put Back.

To delete the files in the Trash, choose File > Empty Trash. The storage space used by those files then becomes available for other files. In macOS Sierra, you can set up your Mac to empty the trash automatically.

If the weird name throws you, 'grep' is an acronym for 'general regular expression
program'. If that doesn't help, it's probably because you're wondering what a
regular expression ('re' or 'regex') is. Basically, it's a pattern used to describe
a string of characters, and if you want to know aaaaaaall about them, I highly Search For File Mac
recommend reading Mastering Regular Expressions by Jeffrey Friedl and
published by Unix über-publisher O'Reilly & Associates.

Regexes (regices, regexen, ..the pluralization is a matter of debate) are an extremely
useful tool for any kind of text processing. Searching for patterns with grep is
most people's first exposure to them, as like the article says, you can use them to search
for a literal pattern within any number of text files on your computer. The cool thing is
that it doesn't have to be a literal pattern, but can be as complex as you'd like.

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The key to this is understanding that certain characters are 'metacharacters', which have
special meaning for the regex-using program. For example, a plus character (+) tells the
program to match one or more instances of whatever immediately precedes it, while parentheses
serve to treat whatever is contained as a unit. Thus, 'ha+' matches 'ha', but it also matches
'haa' and 'haaaaaaaaaaa', but not 'hahaha'. If you want to match the word 'ha', you can use
'(ha)+' to match one or more instances of it, such as 'hahaha' and 'hahahahahahahahaha'.
Using a vertical bar allows alternate matching, so '(ha ho)+' matches 'hohoho', 'hahaha', and
'hahohahohohohaha'. Etc.

There are many of these metacharacters to keep in mind. Inside brackets ([]), a carat (^)
means that you don't want to match whatever follows inside the brackets. For Magritte
fans, '[^(a cigar)]' matches any text that is not 'a cigar'. The rest of the time, the carat tells
the program to match only at the beginning of a line, while a dollar sign ($) matches only at
the end. Therefore, '^everything$' matches the word 'everything' only when it is on a line all
by itself and '^[^(anything else)]' matches all lines that do not begin with 'anything else'.

Mac Search For File Extension

The period (.) matches any character at all, and the asterisk (*) matches zero or more times.
Compare this to the plus, which matches one or more times -- a subtle but important
difference. A lot of regular expressions look for '.*', which is zero or more of anything
(that is, anything at all). This is useful when searching for two things that might or might
not have anything else (that you probably don't care about) between them: 'foo.*bar' will match
on 'foobar', 'foo bar' & 'foo boo a wop bop a lop bam boo bar'. Changing the previous example
to a plus, 'foo.+bar', requires that anything -- come between foo and bar, but it doesn't matter
what, so 'foobar' doesn't match but the other two examples given do match.

For details, try the man pages -- 'man grep'. There are a lot of different versions of the
program, so details may vary. All of this should be valid for OSX though.

Confusing? Maybe, but regular expressions aren't that bad when you get used to them, and
they can be a very useful tool to take advantage of it you know what you're doing. An example.

Let's say you have an website stored on your computer as a series of html documents.
As a cutting edge developer, you've seen the CSS light and want to delete all the
tags wherever they're just saying e.g. face='sans-serif' &/or size='12', because the
stylesheet can now do that for you. On the other hand, it's possible that the patterns
'face='sans-serif' or 'size='12' could show up in normal text (though admittedly
that's unlikely). In fact, what you really want to know is wherever those patterns show up in
a font tag, but you don't care about anywhere else that they might appear. Here's one way to
find that pattern:

This does a number of things. The -i tells grep to ignore case (otherwise it's case sensitive,
and won't match 'FONT' if you're looking for 'font' or 'Font'). The -r tells it to recursively
descend through the directories from wherever the command starts -- in this case, all htm and
html files in the current directory. Everything in single quotes is the pattern we're matching.
We tell grep to match on any text that starts with ' (thus staying within the font tag), and then either the face or
size definition that we're interested in. The one glitch here is that line breaks can break
things, though there are various ways around that. Finding them is left as the proverbial
exercise for the reader. :)

Mac Search For File Name

The next question is, what do you want to do with this information you've come up with?
Presumably you want to edit those files in order to fix them, right? With that in mind, maybe
it would be useful to just make a list of matches. Grep normally outputs all the lines that
match the pattern, but if you just want the filenames, use the -l switch. If you want to save
the results into a file, redirect the output of the command accordingly. With those changes,
we now have:

Great. But we can do better still. If you are comforable with the vi editor, you can call vi
with that command directly. The trick is to wrap the command in backticks (`). This is a cool
little Unix trick that runs the contained command & returns the result for whatever you want
to do with it. Thus you can simply put this command:

The result of this command, as far as your tcsh shell is concerned, is something along the lines
of

Search For File On Mac

etc. The beautiful thing here is that if you quit vi & re-run the command later, it will be
able to effectively 'pick up where you left off', since files you've already edited will
presumably no longer match the grep command.

Search For File Mac

And if you want to get really ambitious, you can use these techniques in ways that
allow you to do all your editing directly from the command line, without having to go into an
interactive editor such as vi or emacs or whatever. If you make it this far in your experiments,
then the next step is to learn to filter the results of a match and process the filtered data
in some way, using tools such as sed, awk, and perl. Using these tools, you can find all
instances of the pattern in question, break it down however you like, substitute or shuffle the
parts around however you like, and then build it all back up again. This is fun stuff! By this
point, you're getting pretty heavily into Unix arcana, and the best book that I've seen about
these tricks is O'Reilly's Unix Power Tools, by various authors. If you really want to leverage
the power of the tools that all Unixes come with, including OSX, then this is a great place to
both start & end up. There's plenty of material in there to keep you busy for months & years..

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