OS X Yosemite: Search Faster for Files by Name

When searching the file system, most OS X users are familiar with CMD+F, and then how to specify the search criteria with the search field and the two popups. But if you know you're looking for a file by name, here's a faster way.

For example, here's the conventional view when searching with CMD+F. There are two popups. In the first popup (left), you can search for contents, a created date, kind, and so on. The second popup (right) allows you to refine the search term.


However, and here's the trick, if you know you want to search for a file name, specifically any file name that contains the string you enter, use SHIFT+CTRL+CMD+F instead. You get an abbreviated search window like this:


In my case I searched for a substring related to the "coelux" light panel.

It's amazing how many tricks there are like this in OS X. Normally, however, such goodies are brought forth by the magic Option key. In fact, there's an old OS X adage, "Always try the Option key." In this case, OPT+CMD+F is no different than CMD+F. You'll also need the Shift key, but if you're fast on the keyboard, it'll save you a click or two at the Find window when you get there. Plus, it's just plain cool.

This isn't part of the tip, but for fun, go ahead and try SHIFT+CMD+F and see what happens. Another interesting surprise.