Unhappy with Spotlight because it does not find files that you know to be there? Use FAF to find every file on your disks, including those usually hidden. By file name, date, size, and even plain text content (see note below).
• Recover a file whose name you partially remember?
• See what files got changed in the past 5 minutes?
• Find all the large files on your disk?
• Uninstall software that leaves files in hidden places where Spotlight doesn't look?
• Search with regular expressions?
Find Any File (FAF) is the perfect tool for these tasks.
You can even search on disks that are not indexed by Spotlight, including server volumes.
Find Any File can find files that Spotlight doesn't, e.g. those inside bundles and packages, and inside system folders that are usually excluded from Spotlight search.
Contrary to Spotlight, it does not use a database but instead searches the data on disk directly. This lets you search for file properties such as name, creation and modification dates, file size, even plain text inside files.
Another useful feature is its hierarchical results view (see screenshots). It lets you view the found items within their respective folders, making it often much easier to browse through 100s of found items.
•• Note ••
FAF can not search file content other than plain (unformatted) text - and even that is rather slow, so don't expect this to be a good replacement for Spotlight.
For searching text in Mails, Word and PDF documents, and similar files, Spotlight is still the best tool (whose results can be enhanced with Tembo, also available in the App Store).
•• Here's what users say about FAF ••
“FAF goes where Spotlight's can't easily reach.”
“As the administrator for about 50 school Macs, I often need to look for some file misplaced by a novice or, while troubleshooting a system, I often need to search for obscure operating system files. Find Any File is in my arsenal of tools when things files or folders go astray.”
“I use it when I want to find a specific kind of file or to see and eliminate or compare the double and redundant files. I surely use it 4-5 times a week.”
“I keep FAF as an icon in the toolbar of every Finder window. When I have to actually find something, I use FAF instead of the Finder.”
• Does not remove Volumes from Login Items any more.
• Fixes a crash when using the Preview Grid view.
• Fixes a rare crash inside [SUUpdater checkForUpdatesInBackground]
Version 2.1 (released 9 Nov 2019)
• Fixes an issue where searching entire volumes could miss some items, especially on fast network volumes such as Helios AFP servers.
• Fixes some Spotlight search issues on Synology NAS volumes (called Universal Search there).
• Searching for text content with non-latin characters (such as the Cyrillic script) does not freeze the app any more.
• The manual (see Help menu, "Documentation") has been much improved, explaining the search options in more detail.
• The Edit commands "Copy" and "Copy Names" have been exchanged to match the Finder's commands better, now called "Copy" and "Copy Columns".
• Fixed: When using the Service "FAF: Search Folder(s)" from the Finder, the search doesn't start on its own any more.
• Fixes a crash when searching for dates.
• English wording for some search rules has been updated to match Spotlight's.
• File names are again painted in their Label colors as it was in version 1.
• Brings back version 1's ability to search for Owner ID and Group ID (hold down the option key when clicking the "Name" popup).
• Fixed: After moving or deleting files, FAF now always updates the results accordingly, even on network volumes.
• Fixes a crash when sorting the column showing the full path.
• Fixes a crash when using "Make Invisible".
• Fixes searching "in Finder selection".
• Brings back all Services in Context menu, like in version 1.
• During QuickLook, using the cursor keys doesn't close the window any more.
• Fixes sorting of Kind column.
• Completes missing localizations in French, Spanish and Portuguese.