Search from the Finder Toolbar
Mac Tip #373, 25 February 2009
If you’re looking for a file you might use the Spotlight search from the Menu Bar, or try a search from the Finder Toolbar. Refer back to Bring up the spots, Mac Tip #200/15-June-2005 for some Tips about Spotlight searches.
To search from the Finder Toolbar, open a Finder window and enter a search term in the Search box at top right.
As you type the Finder window starts to display a list of all the files that contain your search criteria. The more you type, the more specific the list of results can be.
For example, in searching for files whose name contained ‘MacTips’ I first typed the letter ‘m’. 7,840 items satisfied that criterion. When I added the ‘a’ after the ‘m’ the list reduced to 3,991 items. By the time I’d typed the full word ‘mactips’ the list contained only 73 items.
The list is updated live as the search term grows longer and the results can be more precise. You don’t need to press the Return key or click anything to start a search.
Refine a search further by using the Search Bar that appears below the Toolbar.
For my example, I clicked on the File Name button (previously the Contents button was automatically selected) and the number of results in my ‘MacTips’ search was further reduced to 19.
To remove a search term and start over click the small x at the right-hand end of the Search box.
Because your Mac keeps an up-to-date index of all the files on your computer, this kind of searching is extremely fast and effective.