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Find Any File

Key Features

  • Convenient folder view for results
  • Can search in other users' home folders ("root" mode)
  • Saveable queries
  • Fairly 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

Shareware

You may try out Find Any File without paying in advance. Simply download and run it.

If you keep using it, though, I'm asking for a small compensation (US$ 6) for my efforts.

Click here to buy it via FastSpring.

Further purchase information.

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.

  • 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creates a text file on your desktop that contains the textUITools.NewPictureFromPicWithMask, then you may be running an outdated Mac OS X Snow Leopard version.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 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.

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.

FAQ Hide all | Show all

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.

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 "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 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 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? I like to find all image files

The "file type" supported by FAF is an old concept from pre-OS X, when Mac OS didn't use file name extensions to define a type but a 4-letter code. Problem is that these codes are hardly used now any more. Yet, FAF still supports them because it can.

If you want to look for all kind of images, that's not where "file type" would help. The file "kind", as shown in the Finder, would be more appropriate. However, Mac OS's fast search function that I use in FAF does not know the kind at that deep level where it searches.

Hence, all you can do is to perform multiple searches for all the kinds of extensions that meet your "image file" criteria, unfortunately.

I guess Spotlight would be a better help here, as it's suited for categorizing file types the way you need it. Maybe have a look at "HoudahSpot" and "Tempo". Both build on Spotlight, i.e. with the same limitations, but provide a better way to search than Spotlight.

If you want to try out FAF's file type support, simply drag a "sample" file, i.e. an image file, into the File Type field - if that kind of file supports file types, its 4-letter code will be filled in. Then you can search for that, finding all other files of that type, no matter what their extension is.

Wish I could offer a more helpful way to find all those images, but that's where we're hitting the limits of what FAF can do based on what the OS offers.

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

I could, but that would add potential for much slower searches. The purpose of this tool is to use a special Mac OS function to search an entire volume very fast. Find Any File's speed relies on that OS function. The OS function only supports a limited amount of search criteria - pretty much just those that Find Any File offers you. Adding any "smarter" search criteria would require to make assumptions that may backfire, making the search inefficient and slow. Thus I find it best to stay with the OS function's limitations so that we're always getting a predictably fast search.

Version 1.5, however, comes a little closer to this: Now you can have multiple name criteria. They all must be met to find a file, though. There is still no "or" search feature.

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 with a HFS(+) format, also called "Mac OS Extended", 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. :)

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.