- You can find files on your Mac by using either of the Mac’s comprehensive search features.
- You can use the search box in your Mac’s Finder to search for files within one folder, or your whole computer.
- You can also use Spotlight search, available on any screen, to find files on your computer and on the web.
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No matter how well you organise the files on your Mac, it can sometimes be challenging to find the exact file you want.
This is particularly true with older files, which are probably buried in a folder you haven’t thought of in ages.
Fortunately, you can easily find files on your Mac using the Finder window, or Spotlight search. Here’s how.
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How to find files on your Mac using Finder
Here’s how to use Finder to search for files on your Mac.
1. Finder is always automatically open on your Mac. If you can’t find a Finder window, click on the Finder icon in the Dock at the bottom of your screen. It’s a blue and white face, usually the first thing in your Dock.
2. Type your search term into the search box. It’s the field with a magnifying glass in it in the upper-left corner of your Finder window.
3. As you type, a menu will pop down that says “Name Matches.” If you know that what you searched for is in the name of the file you need, choose this option. If not, ignore it and hit enter to execute the search.
4. You can also search by date. Write out the name of the month and the year, and select the “Dates” option from the drop-down menu to find files from that month.
5. Finder will start by searching the folder you had open when you initiated the search. If you didn’t have a folder open, the search will start with “This Mac,” which searches your entire computer.
6. You can toggle back and forth between a folder and your whole computer by clicking on “This Mac” or the folder name. Finder only shows you This Mac and one folder. If you’re searching for a file that you know is in a particular folder, open it in the Finder window before you start your search.
7. Once you find the file you want using this search method, you can double-click it to open it, or right-click it and select “Show in Enclosing Folder” to be brought to the folder that it’s currently in.
Giving your files descriptive names will make it easier to find them later. You can search for documents that contain a keyword or words, but it will be easier and quicker to find the file you want if you can search for the exact name of the file you want.
How to find files on your Mac using Spotlight search
Here’s how to use Spotlight to search for files.
1. Open Spotlight by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of your Mac’s screen.
2. Type your search term in the field that pops up. Spotlight will open a window with the most relevant results, including files, folders, and often even a definition of your search term.
Spotlight will also bring up websites that are related to your search terms, so if you’re trying to find a website quickly, Spotlight can be a big help.
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