Most reliable Find application ever

Spotlight in Ventura is still miserably deficient for file search if you try to find an exact match in a file name that doesn’t include the start of the file’s name. You can confirm this yourself by rebuilding the Spotlight index (Onyx for Ventura may provide the easiest way to that), then opening TextEdit and creating a file in your documents folder named “empty file 1”, then searching for part of a file name that doesn’t occur at the start of the file name. Example: “ty f”. Fortunately, you can use the Find app from Abracode to succesfully perform that search. (You may remember Abracode and the Contextual Menu solutions provided, OnMyCommand, right?) I can’t give a higher recommendation for a free app than for this one.

Abracode Find App

Just curious – what is the reason for rebuilding the Spotlight index?

Otherwise, when I try what you did, EasyFind finds the file with no problem.


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My favourite find app is Find Any File. It’s got great search options, a clean interface, but lots of flexible advanced options if needed. It’s under active development, and the developer is very responsive to suggestions, etc. It’s not just the only find app I turn to, it’s one of my favourite MacOS apps in terms of design and utility. One great thing if you still have old files around is that it supports all the old Mac metadata (e.g. type/creator codes) as well as all the new Mac-specific metadata and options.


A quick question about any of these recommendations. Are they able to find files on CloudKit-based services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and so on?

EasyFind has an option to search mounted drives. I just searched on my iCloud drive and it worked quickly. I don’t use those other CloudKit-based services, presumedly EasyFind should be able to search them if they appear in a Finder window.


I included that step to keep anyone from recommending that I try it. (I did, of course.)

Sure, it’s great, but as Donald Fagen might sing, “it’s cheap, but it’s not free”.

Find by Abracode certainly doesn’t, but to me, it doesn’t matter what it can try to do once it fails for what it claims to do. How about you?

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I tested just now and Find Any File found a file inside OneDrive. It shows it in ~\Library\CloudStorage\OneDrive-Personal.…

Because it doesn’t use the Spotlight index, it also found it in the unindexed caching area that Microsoft warns you not to use.

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Yes, and I was wrong about Find by Abracode not having that capability, also. But those services normally mirror a local folder anyway, so that’s why.

FindAnyFile does. I use it all the time. It’s slow, though.

This is FAST and the various options for filtering, etc are quite nice: HoudahSpot – Powerful File Search Tool for Mac

HoudahSpot is great! Unfortunately, it’s neither cheap nor free. :slightly_smiling_face:

HoudahSpot has a great interface for specifying complex Spotlight searches. But it still relies on the Spotlight index, which doesn’t include every file on disk and won’t look inside bundles. When I’m searching for something, I want to know that it’s crawling my whole disk and inspecting every file, not relying on the Spotlight cache which has some unknown number of omissions.

As others have noted, since Find Any File is looking through every file in the search path, it will find the ones in folders Apple (& Spotlight) consider off limits, including the CloudKit location where Dropbox/OneDrive/Google Drive put their files.

Yeah, but this topic is “Most reliable find application ever”, not “Best free find application”. The Abracode app looks like a great interface to the Unix find command, but I wouldn’t call it the most reliable. Unix find is missing a lot of options that are useful when searching a Mac filesystem. Given that Find Any File doesn’t have any limitations before you pay for it, and it only costs $6, I can’t see how price is an issue.


As a professional writer, what I want is a search that’s quick and searches any files with words in it, including word processing documents (rtf as well as .doc, .docx, txt, and word-perfect, etc.) , PDFs, and ebooks. Spotlight misses too much for me to do a thorough research search of my files. Any more suggestions?

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I’ve actually had better results in Spotlight when searching file contents. That means that HoudahSpot may be a good option. But one point for searching PDFs, they should be OCR’d to search their contents, unless you can be sure that what you take for the PDF’s contents is textual and not image data alone. There is an AppleScript that accomplishes that for PDFPen, and I’m not sure, but there’s probably a way to do it with Live Text as well. I just tried searching for contents in a folder of PDFs OMM that I knew had been OCR’d, and EasyFind was’t successful, while Spotlight was. That surprised me, so I may look into that issue more.

Apple Support suggest rebuilding the Spotlight index by going to its settings and adding the Mac HD to the Exclude list then removing it from the exclude list. It rebuilds in the backgroind.

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HoudahSpot deals with my needs rather well, love building searches with it.

That’s a good idea. Although I normally try to select PDFs that have been built with internal text, some of the historic documents I have are image-only PDFs.

This is a subject close to my heart. After many attempts at finding good file search tools I settled on FindAnyFile which Jolin endorses. You can read more here: Thomas Tempelmann - Find Any File However, while in praise mode, I cannot resist mentioning another Finder mainstay which completes an essential kit for me: Name Mangler which is truly brilliant for batch modifying file names - Name Mangler · Many Tricks