App Addict
May 27th, 2024

File Finding Apps

Universal Apps
Finding Files
Finding Files

Mac users have several choices when it comes to file finding apps ranging from the built in Spotlight utility up to professional grade tools like Foxtrot, costing north of $100. The best app for you depends on your use cases. I tend to do the same type of searches over and over, so I need a utility that has saved searches or templates. I also often search for a specific file, so I want a nice, clean interface that's easy to launch and access.

Launchers - App launching utilities like Alfred, Raycast, Launchbar and Quicksilver all have file finding capabilities and various other tricks up their sleeve like the ability to open the found files in apps other than the default.

EasyFind (free) from Devon Technologies finds files and folders by name, content, tags, or comments using advanced Boolean operators, wildcards, phrases, even regular expressions. It does not require indexing, is fast, and uses very little memory.

Find any File ($6) -  FAF can find files that Spotlight doesn't, e.g. on network (NAS) and other external volumes, hidden ones inside bundles and packages, and those in folders that are usually excluded from Spotlight search, such as the System and Library folders. It can even search in other user's folders if you use FAF's unique root search mode.

Scherlokk ($19) is a file search utility build for precise and reliable search of every file which meets the search criteria. Music, pictures, bookmarks, documents, etc can be found quickly and easily. Search can be made on any kind of build in volume, portable volume (thumb drives, memory cards, USB drives), network drive (AFP, SMB, FTP). It does not use the Spotlight Index. 

ProFind ($6.99) - With support for innovative natural language queries, application launching, saved searches, history, scripting and more. It includes an iOS app that lets you search your Mac from your phone.

Foxtrot Professional Search ($120) - Made for search on a NAS or file server. Features include multiple indices, advanced search criteria. It has advanced in-document searching. It finds hidden gems in terabytes of PDF, word processing, email, presentations and 300+ document types and their metadata.

Houdah Spot - ($34, included in Setapp) A fast a very configurable utility offering hundreds of criteria, exportable results, featuring templates for reoccurring searches, like the one I do every Sunday for Markdown files created in the last seven days to import into Eagle Filer. This is my personal Go To.

Tembo ($15) - Made by Houdah Software, this utility is very fast and rarely lets me down. It's what i use when I'm searching for one particular file.  The real power of Tembo is revealed when you drill down into a group. Filters appropriate to the current group help you quickly find what you are looking for.

More file search utilities, including Windows at AlternativeTo.net