Find Any File (FAF)
- Convenient folder and icon views for results
- Can search in other users' home folders ("root" mode)
- Queries can be saved for easy re-use
- Can be launched with a self defined keyboard shortcut
Known issues in v2.1.1
- The volumes are not listed correctly in macOS Big Sur.
- Content search with regex may lead to crashes or excessive memory use.
If you need these resolved, please try the beta version.
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 2.1.1:
- Icons in Preview Grid should look correct again.
- Does not remove Volumes from Login Items any more.
New in version 2.1:
- Includes Spotlight for even faster results.
- Many bug fixes.
New in version 2.0:
- FAF is now a 64 bit app.
- Shows results as soon as they're found.
- Can search by Kind (Images, Audio, etc.).
- Can search with regular expressions.
New in version 1.9.4:
- Compatible with version 2 in regards to preferences and .faf files.
- Several bug fixes.
You can download the version from this website and use it just the same, without having to purchase it again. This is useful if you want to try out new beta versions that may be available from this website only.
Find Any File (FAF)
Find Any File is a program for Apple's macOS that lets you search for files on your disks.
- Contrary to Spotlight (or the search in Finder), 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, kind etc., and even for plain text contents quite fast.
- 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. It can even search in other user's folders if you use FAF's unique root search mode.
Find Any File doesn't replace Spotlight, but it complements it greatly:
- If you search for files by name, size, dates, kind and other directory properties, use FAF, because only then you can be sure that everything available is found.
- FAF can also find text content if it's uncompressed, as in plain text files and even most binary files. And with the new option to include Spotlight results, it can even find text in compressed PDF, Word and Excel documents if they were indexed by Spotlight.
- FAF can not find metadata stored in files, though, such as image sizes, EXIF data and GPS coordinates. If in doubt, see the manual or simply try out FAF for free, please.
Not convinced yet? Read this review of FAF at MacWorld.com
See a video of Andy Ihnatko recommending FAF on the MacBreak Weekly 506 show
Find Any File has a few gems that other search tools do not offer:
Better results: It offers an alternative hierarchical view for the found items. You can switch to it with cmd+2 or click on the right little icon at the top of the results window:
Note that the search above revealed hundreds of hits. If you'd look at that many results in a flat list, it would be hard to browse. With this new hierarchical view, however, you can directly look for the results in the folders that interest you.
Image Preview: If you're looking for pictures, the image preview browser is helpful as well (new in version 1.9):
- Find everything on your disk: If you hold the Option key (alt ⌥) 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 in root mode, being able to find really any file on your Mac's volumes, including files in other users' home directories (something that Spotlight won't do). Note that this will only work on local disks, not on network mounts, though.
- 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.
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):
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? You would enter two Name criteria as follows, along with a minimum size. Also note that the search is limited explicitly to the Music folder:
Or you might want to find all Numbers documents from 2018:
To learn more about Find Any File's many features, see the manual.
Alternatives to Find Any File
While I appreciate hearing from a happy user, especially if (s)he sends me some money for it, even Find Any File is neither perfect nor to everyone's taste. Therefore, I like to refer you to some other programs that offer similar features. I hope one of them suits your needs. If not, you can always ask me, maybe I can help :)
A popular alternative to FAF is EasyFind by DEVONtechnologies. It offers a different search interface and has a single-window user interface which you might prefer. And it's free.
If you want to search for your documents mainly for their textual content, especially if it's formatted text from Word, Pages, Excel, or in a PDF, take a look at HoudahSpot and Tembo. While they relies on the Spotlight engine, they give you more control over the search, similar to FAF, and also display the found items much better.
If you primarily search media files such as videos, photos, or audio files, NeoFinder might be the right tool for you. It permanently catalogues your files, even those that may be stored on other disks or FTP servers that are not always attached, and keeps even detailed information about your image properties (EXIF data etc.), thumbnails, XMP data, and more.
To see which files, applications and folders occupy the most space on your disk (FAF can't search for app sizes, only for regular file sizes), consider DaisyDisk.
And if you're using Microsoft Windows, check out Everything by voidtools.