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Finding Files

The File menu’s Find command (Figure 76) enables you to search disks or specific disk locations for files based on file name, content, or other criteria. You enter search criteria in the Find window (Figure 77) and click Search. The find feature displays a list of items that match the criteria in a Search Results window (Figures 86 and 87).

Tips

  • Mac OS X 10.2 moved the disk searching feature out of Sherlock and back into the Finder, where it was before Sherlock was developed. Chapter 10 explains how to use Sherlock to search the Internet for a variety of information.

  • The toolbar offers a quick way to find a file in the active window. Enter all or part of the file name in the Search box and press . The window displays only those files that match what you typed.


To find a file

1.
Choose File > Find (Figure 76), or press to display the Find window (Figure 77).

Figure 76. Choose Find from the File menu.


Figure 77. The Find window.


2.
Choose the location you want to search from the Search in pop-up menu (Figure 78):

Figure 78. Use the Search in pop-up menu to indicate where you want to look for the file.


  • Everywhere searches all mounted volumes.

  • Local disks searches only volumes that are directly connected to your computer, including internal hard disks and inserted media such as CD-ROMs.

  • Home searches your Home folder.

    Figure 79. If you choose Specific places from the Search in pop-up menu, the Find window expands to show all mounted volumes.

    Figure 80. Use the pop-up menu in the file name line to indicate how you want to match your search criteria...

    Figure 81. ...and then enter the search criteria in the box beside it.

  • Specific places expands the Find window so you can toggle check marks for specific volumes you want to search (Figure 79).

3.
To search by file name, choose an option from the pop-up menu in the file name line (Figure 80) and enter all or part of the file name in the edit box beside it (Figure 81).

or

To search by file content, enter text you expect to appear within the document in the content line (Figure 82).

or

To search by some other criteria, choose an option from the Add criteria pop-up menu (Figure 83). A line for that type of criteria appears in the window. (Figure 84 shows the Find window with all criteria options added.) Choose an option from the pop-up menu on that line (if necessary) and enter search criteria beside it (if necessary).

4.
To add additional criteria for the search, click the + button beside a line displaying that type of criteria. Then set options in that line (Figure 85). You can repeat this process for as many additional search criteria items as you like.

5.
When you are finished setting search criteria, click Search. Mac OS X displays the Search Results window (Figures 86 and 87) with all files it found that match your search criteria.

Figure 82. To search by content, simply enter the search criteria in the edit box on the content line.


Figure 83. To add other types of search criteria, choose an option from the Add criteria pop-up menu.


Figure 84. Here’s what the Find window looks like with all kinds of criteria added. This is for illustrational purposes only—you’ll never have to use all these options to find a file!


Figure 85. You can enter several lines of a specific type of search criteria.


Tips

  • In step 2, if you choose Specific places from the Search in pop-up menu, you can click the Add button in the Find window (Figure 79) to display the Choose a Folder dialog (Figure 88). Use that dialog to locate and select specific folders to search. The Find feature remembers each folder you add until you remove it from the Find window by selecting it and clicking the Remove button. The Choose a Folder dialog looks and works very much like the Open dialog, which I cover in Chapter 5.

  • Search criteria are not case-sensitive. That means Letter is the same as letter or leTTer.

  • To remove search criteria you don’t want to use, click the – button beside its line. The line disappears.

  • The find feature attempts to find files that match all search criteria. For example, the search criteria in Figure 85 will find all files with names that contain the words Letter and Joe. The more criteria you enter, the narrower the search and the fewer items will be found.

  • Finding by content works with an index file that is automatically created and maintained by Mac OS X. You can keep this file small and improve your computer’s indexing performance by specifying the languages you use in your files. I explain how to do this in my discussion of Finder Preferences at the beginning of this chapter.

  • The Relevance column in the Search Results window for finding files by content (Figure 87) indicates how often the search criteria were found in each file. The larger the Relevance bar, the more occurrences of the search criteria.

    Figure 86. Here are the results for the search criteria in Figure 81...


Figure 87. ...and here are the results for the criteria in Figure 82.


Figure 88. You can use the Choose a Folder dialog to specify folders to search.


To learn where a found item resides on disk

Select the name of the item in the top half of the Search Results window. The path to the file appears in the bottom half of the window (Figure 89).

To work with found items

You can use commands on the File menu (Figure 90) to perform a number of tasks with selected items in the Search Results window (Figures 86 and 87):

  • Open () opens the selected item.

  • Open With enables you to select an application to open the item with. This option, which I discuss in Chapter 5, only applies to document files.

  • Get Info opens the Info window for the selected item. I tell you about the Info window on the next page.

  • Open Enclosing Folder () opens the folder in which the selected item resides.

  • Add to Favorites () adds the selected item as an alias to the Favorites folder. I tell you about Favorites earlier in this chapter.

  • Move to Trash () moves the selected item to the Trash.

Tip

  • You can also use the Search Results window to move or copy an item. Drag the item from the top half of the window to a destination disk or folder. The item remains in the Search Results window but, if it is moved, its path changes.


Figure 89. When you select an item in the top half of the Search Results window, its path appears in the bottom half of the window.


Figure 90. The File menu with a document selected in the top half of the Search Results window.


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