Find Any File (FAF)

Key Features

  • Convenient folder and icon views 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, Czech, Swedish

Download v1.9.3 (for 10.6-10.8)

Download v1.8.6 (for PPC Macs)

Download other versions here

Find Any File is Shareware

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

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

New in version 1.9.3:

  • Fixes "Name equals" on APFS volumes.
  • Applications can be chosen again with "Pass Results".
  • Improves performance with file icons in "Preview Grid" mode.

New in version 1.9.2:

  • Several crashing fixes.

New in version 1.9.1:

  • Critical fix for searching APFS disks.

New in version 1.9:

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.

Support (Find Any File) Trouble Shooting | Known Problems | FAQs | More Hints

Trouble Shooting Hide all | Show all

Find Any File isn't responsive or crashes at launch.

  • Since El Capitan (OS X 10.11.3 or later) some users experience a slow start of FAF. It can take a minute before it's usable. I am not able to reproduce this effect so I cannot simply fix and verify it myself - I need your help. I have some suspicions what's causing this, though. If you have this effect, please contact me (see bottom of this page) and I'll send you a version that may fix this or at least tell me better what's going wrong.
  • If you get a window shown by FAF that mentions Internal Error (exception) and creates a text file on your desktop that contains the textUITools.NewPictureFromPicWithMask, then you may be running an outdated Mac OS X Snow Leopard version. Please update to at least 10.6.4, that should fix it.
  • If you get a crash saying Find Any File was quit unexpectedly, you may have a conflicting Input Manager or Input Method installed, such as SIMBL or Spell Catcher. While these are not generally harmful, they are, regrettably, causing problems for Find Any File. To keep using FAF, check the folders named InputManagers and Input Methods in your startup disk's Library folder and remove their contents temporarily, then reboot, to see if FAF works then. Unfortunately, it's out of my control to fix FAF in this regard. For more detailed instructions on how to go about sorting out the offending software causing the crash, you may follow this guide of mine: How To Identify and Disable software extensions on OS X that cause other Apps to crash
  • There also used to be a issue caused by an update of Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba in August 2011. You should have updated Airfoil by now. See Rogue Amoeba's article on this topic.

I like to purchase FAF in the App Store, but it says that it's already installed.

This can happen if you have other versions of FAF left on your startup disk.
To find them, you can download my tool Locate App By Bundle ID, letting it search for "org.tempel.findanyfile". Then move the found app to the Trash. Repeat these steps until no more FAF versions are found.

I have purchased FAF in the App Store, but I keep getting the purchase reminder.

Update FAF to version 1.6 or later via the App Store, and launch that new version of Find Any File once. After that, you can replace the App Store version with the version from my website here and you won't get this reminder any more. There is also another way around this - just send me an e-mail (see below) and I'll give you instructions to turn off the reminder.

I have entered the terminal command you sent me but I keep getting the purchase reminder.

Update FAF to version 1.6 or later, quit FAF, enter the command again, press Return, quit Terminal.app and relaunch FAF. Then check if the menu, right above "Preferences...", shows an entry titled "Purchase...". If that still appears, the registration didn't work. Please contact me so I can help you get this fixed. If you don't see "Purchase..." under the "Find Any File" menu, then the app has been registered and it should not show the reminder again.

I cannot search in Time Machine backups.

Find Any File can search on Time Machine (TM) volumes just like on every other volume.

However, if Time Machine is on a networked drive (Time Capsule, NAS, Drobo, etc.), your Mac usually hides the actual Time Machine volume. That makes it difficult for Find Any File to access it.

To search such a hidden TM volume, you need to mount it explicitly first: Open the network drive that contains your TM volume. At the root of that disk, there is a file (package) that ends in ".sparsebundle". Double click that to open it. That will mount the TM volume. Now you can search on it with FAF.

When searching Time Machine backups, the number of found items varies for the same search criteria.

Time Machine (TM) backups use so-called "folder hardlinks" to alias unchanged data between multiple backups: If TM performs several backups a day, most files and folder contents do not change, and therefore TM does simply link to the same files and folders from within different backup times.

When you search the entire disk (which uses the fast "CatSearch" mode), then every real file will only be found once, even if it's hardlinked multiple times. This means that you find every different file only once.

However, if you traverse the directory tree by choosing the Time Machine folder (leading to a slow search), every - even identical - version of every backup will be searched, and the same file will be found multiple times as it resides under every backup that TM has performed.

So, if you find dozens of files when searching a folder on your TM disk, and compare that to the few files you find when searching the entire disk, you'll see that the set of many files actually has a lot of duplicates, just in different places, equalling the few distinct files that are found searching the entire disk in fast mode.

Known Problems Hide all | Show all

It doesn't take seconds, it takes minutes to search a disk.

This usually means that the search includes very large or network volumes.
Time Machine is one of those very large ones. It easily has ten times more file records on it than the average disk. I am working on a way to exclude the Time Machine volume when searching "all disks". Until then, you have to search individual volumes if you want to avoid the long delay, sorry.

The program does not find anything on my desktop or in my home folder.

This happens if you are using FileVault on OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) to secure your personal data (not an issue on 10.7 Lion any more). This effectively turns your home folder into a (somewhat hidden) separate disk, and Find Any File is not aware of this yet. To work around this, you need to make sure the FileVault is searched separately. It appears in the Disks list as its own item, named after your account's short name.

Certain folders and apps are not found (localized names).

Apple has translated some of their apps and folders. For instance, the desktop folder is called "Schreibtisch" in German, and the program "Disk Utility" is called "Festplattendienstprogramm" in German.

Find Any File is not aware of these translations and thus cannot find these items if you enter their localized names.

To find out their original name, drag their icon into Find Any File's search field, where you'd enter the name. That will reveal their true name as Find Any File sees it.

FAQ Hide all | Show all

What are the system requirements (supported OS versions)?

FAF runs on all Intel and PowerPC Macs starting with OS X 10.4.1, including Mountain Lion.

The big green Download button gives you the Intel-only version. To run on PowerPC Macs, you need to use the other download link below the big button.

What does it mean when "(slow)" appears?

If you read the FAQ further down, you'll see that some volumes (disks) support the "fast search" operation. That's what makes FAF so fast.
Volumes that do not support this operation are marked with "(slow)". Expect long times when searching on those.
Similarly, if you search a specific folder instead of the entire volume/disk, "(slow)" appears to indicate that this may be slower than letting FAF search the entire volume.

If the volume is on a network server or NAS, see if you can mount it via the "afp" (Apple) protocol, avoiding the "smb" (Windows) protocol, as only AFP supports the Fast Search operation.

Why do some items, e.g. applications, show only "-" for their size?

Such items, usually called Packages or Bundles, are actually folders that are specially treated by the Finder. To see their sizes, ensure that you have the Preference option Calculate Size of Applications and Packages checked.

When I search for "File Size equals 0" I still get items listed with a larger size.

Generally, some files, mainly older ones, are made up of two so-called forks. While one fork, the data fork, contains the actual file data, there is another fork, the resource fork, which contains meta data that's often not really important but provides additional information specific to Mac OS, while it can be ignored on other systems, e.g. Windows and Linux.

Now, when you search for "File Size", you get to specify the data fork's size only. But the results list shows the files' total sizes, i.e. the sum of both forks, if available. This means that the results are still correct, as their data fork size is indeed zero, while they may have also a non-empty resource fork.

To find files where both the data and the resource fork are empty, add another criterion, e.g. for "Name", and then click on the "Name" popup menu while holding down the Option (alt) key. That will open the menu showing additional choices that are usually hidden. One of the new choices is "Resource Size". Choose that, and set it also to "equals 0". Now you should have two criteria, one "File Size equals 0" and one "Resource Size equals 0", giving you the desired result.

To see the specific fork sizes, enable the Show Tooltips option under the View menu and then hold the mouse over a found item for two seconds.

When opening a folder by clicking its triangle, I like it to open all deeper levels as well.

There is a solution to this, and it's the same the Finder and many other applications offer in their hierarchical list views: Hold down the Option (alt) key when clicking the triangle. That will affect all the folder's contents, opening or closing them all at once.

There used to be options to search for File Type and Creator Code. Where are they? (Expert Mode)

FAF hides these options now by because because they're rarely used nowadays and caused confusion for new users not understanding what this old "file type" was about.

If you understand that these are hidden 4-letter codes and have nothing to do with what the "Kind" column shows, you can enable the expert mode in FAF. To do that, issue the following command in Terminal: defaults write org.tempel.findanyfile "Mode.Expert" -bool YES

Alternatively, hold down the Option key while clicking on the Choices button to reveal the expert options.

How can I search for File Types or Kinds? I like to find all image files.

Unfortunately, macOS does not offer a fast way to find all files of a certain kind, such as images or text files.

The best approach would be to use the "Name ends in either of" criterion, and then enter all the known file extensions for that kind.

For images, you'd probably enter something like the following into the right field: png gif jpg jpeg tiff icns

Spotlight might be a better choice, as it's suited for categorizing file types the way you need it.

How can I search for Finder Tags?

FAF lets you only search for Labels (which are the Tag's predecessors). The way Apple added Tags on top of Labels makes them very inefficient for searching. Searching an entire disk for Labels could take hours. So, if you know the color of your seeked Tag, search for the matching Label color with FAF. That will then turn up more files than you seek, but then you can use the Filter field at the top right of the results window to filter them out.

However, if the file you seek has multiple Tags set, this may still fail, because FAF will only find the Label of the last set Tag on the file.

I'm sorry, but Tags are quite the hack internally, by Apple, and Apple doesn't care about supporting this any more than what Spotlight needs.

Can you add more search criteria, e.g. logical combinations ("and", "or")?

You can add multiple name criteria. They all must be met to find a file, giving you an "and" operator.

While there is no full-featured "or" operator, you can search for alternative file name parts by using "Name contains either of …", entering the alternatives separated by a space.

What can the root mode (Find All) find that the normal Find won't?

The root mode is mainly useful when the Mac has multiple user accounts configured and you like to find files in every user's private folders. Without the root mode, you won't get to look at other users' files.

If you're the only user on the computer, then using the root search mode is hardly ever necessary, as whilst Mac OS X does protect quite a few system files, it doesn't usually hide them from view. However, there may be software that hides files on purpose from you, and that's where the root mode might help you reveal those items, too.

If you prefer to perform all your searches in this root mode, see the manual: Automating "Find All"

Can you add searching in specific folders instead of searching always an entire disk?

Yes, version 1.5 added this feature. Simply drop the folder to search onto the menu where you can select where to search.

However, keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, it may not be faster. If you have a lot of files in that specific folder, then a full search over the entire volume such as Find Any File does it, may still be faster than a recursive search in a large folder. And the problem is that Find Any File cannot predict beforehand how large and deep the folder is. To be on the safe side, it prefers the somewhat fast "entire volume" search instead of running into the situation where it'll search a deep folder recursively which then may take 10 times longer than the entire volume search.

To accomodate browsing the desired folders, FAF offers the hierarchical results view in which you can get to the folder of your interest easily.

I had no idea that searching an entire volume was particularly fast.

Yes, that's the funny part about it: Mac OS provides such a "fast search over entire volume" function since its HFS beginnings, i.e. for over 15 years, and it was used by Apple's own "Find File" and "Sherlock" in previous OS versions. Yet, when these apps were replaced by Spotlight, several other programmers tried to fill in the gap, but apparently all of them missed to use this special function. I couldn't believe it - that function was well documented, yet none of the new tools would use it even if these tools searched the entire volume, an example being the quite popular EasyFind. This annoyed me so much that, after waiting for a few years for others to "get it", I released my own tool using this feature. And guess what - two days after releasing FAF, someone else released a similar app (Find File), using the same fast search function. Go figure.

Update: EasyFind now also uses the fast search feature where appropriate. Now we have more choices again. I recommend to take a look at it, as it does a few nice tricks Find Any File doesn't.

What kind of disks do support "fast search"?

That'd be any local (i.e. internal and directly attached) disk in the HFS+ (also called "Mac OS Extended") or APFS format, and network disks that are using the "AFP" protocol.

However, Windows servers, and OSX/Linux/NAS servers mounted using the SMB protocol do not support the fast search mode.

As a general rule: If "(slow)" appears with the volume name, or during search, then the "fast search" operation is not in effect.

Many NAS units support AFP nowadays, and they do a fairly good job performing a local (i.e. on the server) search if you ask FAF to search the entire disk.

If you connect to a network volume served by another Mac, you'll get the fast search option only if the mounted volume on your Mac shows the entire volume (disk) from the server, but not if it's showing only a folder from the server's disk (e.g. a user's folder).

In theory, other volume formats and network protocols could support fast search, too. For instance, the Joliet File System for Mac OS 7-9 I wrote long ago did support this on CD-ROMs formatted in ISO 9660 and Joliet format.
And NTFS would be suited for this as well due to the way its directory is stored in one large "file" (in the "$MFT"), just like the so-called catalog file in HFS. It's all a question of writing the additional code for OS X disk drivers and implementing, in case of network storage (NAS), the AFP protocol fully. But who'd pay for that? I could do it, if you paid me. Will cost a bit, though. :)

Entering commands in Terminal.

To enter commands in Terminal, find the program "Terminal", which is inside the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder. If you open (double click) Terminal, it will show you a window with a so-called prompt (e.g: bobs_mac:~ bob$) after which you can type commands, line by line. To enter a command, it's usually best to copy the command text into the clipboard, and then paste it into Terminal by typing cmd+V. After entering the command, press the Return key to execute the command. If all went well, the Terminal should simply show a new prompt line, without any error messages. After than you can quit Terminal.

Hints and Tips Hide all | Show all

Using Find Any File always in English.

If you do not like to use FAF in your non-english localized language, you can use the program Language Switcher to enforce a particular language.

Disable the alternating row colors in results.

When listing the found items, the rows alternate in color between white and light blue. If you prefer them all in the same white color, enter the following command in Terminal:
  defaults write org.tempel.findanyfile AlternatingRowColor -dict r 255 g 255 b 255

Control what happens when nothing is found.

Sinve v1.8.8, you can decide what kind of notification you like to get when nothing is found:

  • A visual notification through OS X's Notification Center, along with a sound (only in OS X 10.8 and later).
  • A system beep sound.
  • No notification at all.

To disable using the Notification Center, enter the following command in Terminal:

  defaults write org.tempel.findanyfile "Notify when nothing found" -bool NO

To use a different sound with the Notification Center, enter the following command in Terminal, replacing sound_name with the name of a system sound such as "Basso", "Frog" or "Sosumi" (the default is "Purr"):

  defaults write org.tempel.findanyfile "Nothing found sound" "sound_name"

To disable the system sound as well, enter the following command in Terminal:

  defaults write org.tempel.findanyfile "Beep when nothing found" -bool NO

Ways to copy the results to the clipboard in various formats.

To copy selected items from the results to the clipboard, there are many options.

Pressing cmd+C (menu: Edit/Copy) copies all shown columns, separated by TAB characters (useful for pasting into a spreadsheet).

All other options require the use of the mouse, to open the Edit menu at the top, choosing the Copy menu item while holding down one or more modifier keys:

  • With the shift key, only the names will be copied.
  • With the alt (option) key, complete paths will be copied.
  • With both the shift and ctrl keys, the names will be copied, but indented with TAB characters (only works in the hierarchical view).

Another way to copy the path of every selected item is to right-click (or ctrl-click) on the text at the very bottom of the window where it shows the number of selected items. This will open a menu offering to copy the paths in various representations. If in doubt, choose "POSIX style".

Note: In hierarchical view, using Select All (cmd+A) selects only the found items but not their enclosing folders. To select all listed items, press cmd+A twice within a second.

Still have questions?

Contact Thomas by e-mail.