Find Any File

Key Features

  • Convenient folder view for results
  • Can search in other users' home folders ("root" mode)
  • Saveable queries
  • Fast
  • Can be launched in place of Spotlight with ⌘F
  • Localized in the following languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Czech

Download v1.8.6 for older PowerPC Macs)

Download alternatives and previous versions here

Find Any File is Shareware

You may try it out without buying first. Simply download it.

If you keep using it, though, you are expected to pay for it.

New in version 1.8.9:

New in version 1.8.8:

New in version 1.8.7:

New in version 1.8.6:

New in version 1.8.5:

  • Does not show the .faf files from previous searches any more.

New in version 1.8.4:

  • Portuguese localization.
  • "Open Recent" menu to re-open previously performed searches.
  • Pressing Option or Command key while clicking "Add Choice" adds a new choice immediately.
  • Bug fixes.

New in version 1.8.3:

  • Restores columns in Results window if they got misaligned.
  • Corrected french text "Traitement des données".

New in version 1.8.2:

  • Fixed search for Creator and FileType codes.

New in version 1.8.1:

New in version 1.8:

  • Lots of new search criteria (words, wildcards, labels).
  • Improved filtering (show only invisibles, hide trash).
  • You can now change the labels of selected items.
  • Many bug fixes (e.g. no more long startup delays for some users).
  • See complete list of changes.

Manual Features | Search Examples | Tips & Tricks | Alternatives | Acknowledgements | Contact

This is a program for Mac OS X that lets you search for files on your disks, primarily on HFS formatted ones.

Contrary to Spotlight, it does not use a database but instead uses the file system driver's fast search operations, where available. This lets you search for file properties such as name, dates, size, etc., but not for file content (use Spotlight or EasyFind for that).

Find Any File can find files that Spotlight doesn't, e.g. those inside bundles and packages and in inside folders that are usually excluded from Spotlight search.

Finally, it is quite fast. A search on an entire disk only takes a few seconds.


Find Any File has a few gems that other search tools do not offer:

  1. Hierarchical results exampleIt sports a new hierarchical view for the found items. You can switch to it using Command-2 or click on the right little icon at the top of the results window:

    The search revealed hundreds of hits. If you'd look at that many results in a flat list, it could be hard to browse. With this new hierarchical view you can directly look for the results in the folders that interest you.

    Also note that some rows are black (and bold) while others are gray (and cursive). The black ones are the ones you had searched for, while the gray ones are just there to show you the enclosing folders, without being direct hits.

    Additionally, there's a yellow so-called Tooltip box which can show you more details of the item the mouse is over. You can turn this box on/off via the menu bar.

  2. If you still prefer the flat list view, you can filter the shown items by their name, kind, enclosing folder etc, to further limit the results of your search (see below).
  3. You can save your entered searches to files (they'll have the extension ".faf"). You can then double click them in the Finder to have them start the search immediately, or use the saved search as a preset.
  4. If you hold the Option key (⌥) down in the Find window, the Find button turns into Find All. If you click on it then, you are asked for an administrator password - and then Find Any File will restart with root permissions, being able to find really any file on your Mac's volumes (something that Spotlight won't ever do). Note that this will only work on local disks, not on network mounts, though. And it's only available in the app version from my website (see below), not in the version from the Mac App Store due to restrictions Apple enforces there.

Search Examples

Find recent changes

Have you just installed or launched a program for the first time and like to see what it modified or added to your disks? Here's a way to do that (it excludes .DS_Store files from the results because they're not really relevant to this question).

Find inside music folder

Searching for files only inside your Music folder that are neither in AAC nor in MP3 format and which are at least a megabyte in size? So you could enter two Name criteria as follows, along with a minimum size. Also note that the search is limited explicitly to the Music folder.

Find docs of 09

Or you might want to find all Numbers documents created in 2009 only.

More features

Besides the obvious things you can see by looking at the menus, there are a few things that are not so obvious:

Searching multiple disks or folders

Dropping multiple disks or folders

To search a custom set of disks or folders, simply drop them together onto the popup menu which lets you select where to search.

If you can't drag all the icons at once, you may also add them to an existing set by holding down the Shift (⇧) key when dropping them onto the popup menu.

Filtering the results

Using the filter

Use the filter in the flat (non-hierarchical) list to reduce the shown items to the text you enter. Use the menu under the magnifier glass to choose what column to filter on.

Choosing which columns to show in the list

Choosing columns

Right-click on the column titles to get a menu that lets you choose which columns appear in the list.

Pre-setting the preferred disk to search

Using Save As Defaults

When Find Any File is launched, it always defaults to searching the boot volume. If you prefer to search a different volume by default, do this: Launch Find Any File, choose your preferred volume, then use the Save command to save the search criteria to a file. Next time, instead of launching Find Any File directly, open that saved file instead - Find Any File will launch with the presets you chose before.

Alternatively (since version 1.5), you can set up your preferred search and choose Save As Defaults from the File menu in order to have these settings reappear next time you launch Find Any File.

(Note: If you have saved a Search with the option to start the search automatically when opening the file, you can still prevent the search from starting by holding down the Option (⌥) key while Find Any File opens the document.)

Copying the file paths of found items

Path access in results

To copy the path names of found items to the clipboard, select the item(s) and then right-click on the path field at the very bottom, where you can then choose from 3 different formats:

Shell style is good for pasting into a Terminal window (escaping spaces etc.),
POSIX style is the original Unix style path and
Mac style gives the classic Mac path using ":" as folder delimiters.

Copying the names and other shown columns of found items

You can select and copy the shown results in various formats. Copy columns

If you use Copy (⌘C), the values of all visible columns will be put into the clipboard, separated by TAB characters. This allows easy pasting into a spreadsheet, for instance. If you copy the results while the hierarchical (tree) view is shown, the items will also get intented by their folder depth. If you do not want this to happen, switch to the flat view before copying the selected rows.

Copy names only

If you hold down the Shift (⇧) key when choosing Copy from the Edit menu, you will copy only the name column.

Copy paths

If you hold down the Option (⌥) key when choosing Copy from the Edit menu, you will copy the POSIX (Unix) paths.

Resetting your preferences at launch

If you hold down the Option (⌥) key at launch if Find Any File, the previously saved defaults won't be loaded, but instead a standard Find window will appear. Use this to circumvent problems such as to prevent opening a unreachable network volume you might have saved as default.

If you hold down both Shift (⇧) and Option (⌥) keys when launching Find Any File, you will be prompted to reset all preferences. Use this if windows won't appear any more, or other things you customized are causing trouble.

Launching Find Any File by a keyboard shortcut, just like it works with Spotlight

This can now (since version 1.6) be enabled directly in the Preferences window of Find Any File.

For instance, to open FAF when pressing Command-F in the Finder, set the Hot Key up as follows:

Automating "Find All" (root permissions)

If you want to use "Find All" you have to hold down the Option (⌥) key so that the Find button turns into Find All. Once you click on this button, you'll be asked to enter your password.

You can save your password in your personal keychain just for Find Any File so that you won't be asked for it every time any more. Here's how:

Now, whenever you launch FAF and want to search with root permissions, you need to hold down the option key. You can change that, too, so that FAF will always search with root permissions. To do that, launch the program Terminal.app and paste the following into it:

defaults write org.tempel.findanyfile AlwaysFindAll -bool yes

Press the Return key to issue this command. Now quit and relaunch FAF - the Find button should now read Find All. With that, you're set. (To turn off this feature, issue the Terminal command again, replacing yes with no.)

More Tips and Help

For more tips and troubleshooting help see the Support page.

Alternatives to Find Any File

If you like to search for data inside files, and Spotlight doesn't do it for you, have a look at EasyFind by DEVONtechnologies. It offers a few extra search options (e.g. wildcards), displays results a bit neater and has a single-window user interface which you might prefer. Since version 4.6 (released in Nov 2010) it also uses the fast disk search function that Find Any File uses (CatalogSearch), where appropriate. More info here: http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/freeware/

And if you want to search for specific text in a large set of files inside a directory, try TextWrangler (http://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/).

Version History

See Version History page.


Retina icon design by Adam Betts

Classic icon design by Chris Paveglio (www.paveglio.com)

I also thank Michael Berglund, Edward Loveall and especially Alexey Volokhov for their contributions of alternative icons.

Charles Yeomans provided a lot of helpful code (MacOSLib, a better PopupMenu)

I am grateful to Kuniaki Maruyama from Japan for making me aware of a REALbasic font display problem on japanese OS X systems, and for helping me fix it.

French translation by Ronald A. Leroux and Valdemar de Sousa, proofreading by Renaud Boisjoly and Stéphane Pinel.

Italian translation by Vincenzo Boiano (VinBoiSoft).

Norwegian and Czech translation by Jakob Englund.

Swedish translation by Frank Winterpil and Bo K. Engelbrecht.

Spanish translation by Natalia Portillo.

Portuguese translation by Fernando Valente.

Finally, many thanks to all the testers for the 1.5 release. Out of ~150 who contacted me directly in the past, thanking for FAF or making inquiries, 42 of those responded when I asked them for help with testing, and all of them were helpful, many of them pointing out problems I overlooked, making good suggestions or helping me with decisions. It was an uplifting experience.

This tool's design was inspired by the Classic Mac OS' Find File application, which also appeared under the name Sherlock for a while.

Questions, Feedback, Contact

To contact me, write to tempelmann@gmail.com
The app's website is: http://apps.tempel.org/FindAnyFile/

And now, I hope you enjoy using Find Any File.