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.


Find Any File (FAF)

Key Features

  • 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

New in version 2.4:


Features | Search Examples | Preferences | Rules | Tips & Tricks | Alternatives | Acknowledgements | Contact

This is a program for Mac OS X that lets you search for files on your disks.

Contrary to Spotlight, 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, etc.

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, such as System and Library.


Find Any File has a few gems that other search tools do not offer:

  1. Hierarchical results exampleIt offers a hierarchical view for the found items as an alternative to the common flat list view. You can switch to it using ⌘2 or click on the center segment of the "View" button at the top of the Results window:

    For instance, this search revealed thousands of hits. If you'd look at that many results in a flat list, it would be hard to browse. In the hierarchical view you can directly look for the results in the folders that interest you.

    Also note that some rows are black (and bold) while others are gray (and cursive). The black ones are the ones you had searched for, whereas the gray ones are just there to show you the enclosing folders, without being direct hits.

  2. You can filter the shown items further by their name, kind, enclosing folder etc. (see below).
  3. 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.
  4. If you hold the option key (⌥) 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 with root permissions, being able to find really any file on your Mac's local volumes (something that Spotlight won't ever do).

Search Examples

Find recent changes

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).

Find word documents

Search for multiple file extensions at once, like Word documents in both the old and the new format.

Find inside music folder

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? So you could enter two Name criteria as follows, along with a minimum size. Also note that the search is limited explicitly to the Music folder.

Find docs of 2018

Or you might want to find all Numbers documents created in 2018 only.

Find content

You can also search for text content (plain text and zip files only, which includes .docx and .xlsx but not .pdf files).

Many search options

Rules Examples

FAF lets you set up a complex set of rules if you like.

Here is an overview of the properties you can look for.

There are more verbs (operators) that are not shown in this example.

For example, you can match your search term to just the start or end of a file name, exclude terms from names, specify a range of dates or file sizes (by using two rules, one with the lower and one with the upper bound), use regular expressions for file names and text file content, look specifically for images, audio, video, plain and rich text types or even write your own scripts in Lua or Javascript that check custom conditions for every considered file.

For a file or folder to be found, all rules must match (Rules that have nothing entered into the edit field or that have "any" chosen are ignored, though). If you need an "either … or" condition, you either have to perform separate searches for them or use one of the "contains / begins with / ends with / is any of …" rules.

Some of the menus can be sorted by pressing the shift (⇧) key while the menu is open.

Some of the menus show additional items when the option (⌥) key is pressed while the menu is open.

Expert Mode options (usually hidden)

Extended Rules

Additional less frequently needed rules can be revealed by holding down the option (⌥) key when clicking onto the leftmost ("Name") popup menu.

To make them permanently visible, issue this command in

defaults write org.tempel.findanyfile "Mode.Expert" -bool YES

The Results window Toolbar

Results window with icons in toolbar

Since macOS 11 "Big Sur", FAF uses more compact icons instead of text labels in the toolbar (the upper part) in Results windows, as shown on the right.

The leftmost "View" icons are the same as before: Flat (list), Tree (hierarchical) and Preview (icons).

The next three settings choose whether to show or hide Invisibles, Package Contents and Trashed items. The three options are:
  • Show all.
  • Hide them (i.e. the invisibles, package contents or trashed items).
  • Show only them (exclusively).
Results window with icons in toolbar

If you prefer to see the old style labeled toolbar items instead, right-click into the toolbar, so that the menu shown on the right appears. Choose Customize Toolbar, which will present a dialog window in which you can drag items from the top toolbar out to remove them, and then drag the labeled items in.


The Preferences window

Hot Key
See below for setting up a keyboard shortcut for launching FAF quickly.
Dim Color
When using the hierarchical view, enclosing folders that are not part of the search are shown in this color so that they're easier to distinguish from the folders and files that match your search rules.
Expand all folders when showing results
Applies to the hierarchical view. If unchecked, only folders that have a single matching item inside will be opened.
Calculate size of applications and packages
If checked, the size of application and package (bundle) folders will be shown in the results.
If you option-click the checkbox, it'll turn into a dash (). With this setting, the size of every directory will be shown. This may make FAF respond slower because it'll require a lot of computing and disk access to determine all folder sizes.
Remember "Show…" choices in Results windows
If you like the "Invisibles", "Package Contents" and "Trashed" options to keep their settings instead of resetting to "Show" with each search, check this option.
Enable "Open Recent Search" menu
If you do not want FAF to remember your recent searches and locations, uncheck this option.
Show Results Early
If checked, a search will open the Results window as soon as items are found. Otherwise, the results will only be shown at the end of a search.
Unchcke this if you expect to find many thousands of items because otherwise it may impact the performance of FAF during the search.
If you option-click the checkbox, it'll turn into a dash (), which means that you'll see the results early but can't click into them until the search is finished or you've clicked the Stop button.
Include Spotlight results
By including Spotlight, items may appear sooner in the Results window. When searching for File Content, Spotlight may include text from rich text files that FAF otherwise would not find (because FAF can only search plain text and some special files such as Word documents). It also may speed up searches on NAS systems that support Spotlight (such as Synology's Universal Search and QNAP's Qsirch).
Note that FAF will keep searching until it has performed its own rigorous look at every file, meaning that even if Spotlight already delivered all possible results in the first seconds of the search, FAF will not finish faster, because it will still perform its own (usually slower) search to make sure nothing was missed. Therefore, this option is only useful for getting your results appear faster, and thereby only makes sense if you also have the option "Show Results Early" enabled. (Exception: If you use the hidden rule "Spotlight Results are exclusively shown", then FAF won't search conventionally but only with Spotlight.)
Automatically check for updates
These options are only available in the FAF version downloaded from the FAF website but not when installed from the Mac App Store (MAS), as the App Store performs update checks on its own.
Special Folders…
See below for configuring folders that should be excluded from search.
Reset All
Click this to reset your preferences to the recommended defaults. Also clears your recent searches.

Note that FAF has many more hidden preference settings that are documented on its own page.

The Special Folders window

Special Folders

You can open the Special Folders settings from the Find Any File menu and from the Preferences window's same-named button. You can also use the shortcut ⌘⇧, (cmd-shift-comma).

Check this option to have a folder or disk excluded from the results. An example is to exclude the Time Machine backup disk, so that it's not searched when choosing "on all disks" as the target.
Use this option for volumes that do not support the fast search (CatalogSearch, searchfs) correctly even if they report they would. This may be the case for NAS systems that are mounted via the AFP protocol, and which use an old implementation of netatalk. You'd check this option if you suspect that FAF does not find all the items it should on a network volume. With this option checked, the search will be slower but should not be missing any items any more. Volumes not offering "fast search" won't show the Slow checkbox.

Options in the View menu

Results Menu
Show Tab Bar
Enables Tabs in either the Find or the Results window (you can enable them separately).
List / Tree / Preview
Use the shown shortcuts (cmd-1, cmd-2 or cmd-3) to quickly switch the results view mode.
Lets you show or hide specific columns for both the List and Tree view modes. You can accomplish the same by right-clicking on a column header in the results window.
Reset Column Widths
Quickly adjusts all column widths so that everything fits. Use this if a column, especially the variable ones such as for Kind and Tags, are not wide enough to show all text.
Show Custom Icons on Network Volumes
Fetching icons over the network is fairly slow. That why you can disable this feature here to speed things up when searching on network volumes.
Show Localized File Names
If you are using non-English language on your Mac, some names, such as "Deskop" and "Applications", are shown translated in Finder and in other applications. FAF lets you choose with this option whether you like to see the translated name or the actual untranslated file name.
Highlight Found Names
When you search for partial file names, this option will highlight the matching name parts.

Options in the Results menu

Results Menu

Most of the commands appear also in the right-click menu.

Additional settings:

Deleted Items Remain Visible
When checked, if files are deleted by using FAF's Delete Immediately command, or when they got deleted by background processes, they remain visible in FAF's results windows, but with a strike-through line. To remove them from the results, use the Remove Deleted Items command.
Automatically Refresh
When checked, FAF will update the shown items if they get changed by other programs, e.g. if you modify, rename, move or delete a found item. On network volumes this may not always work, though. If unchecked, you can still use the Refresh command to force an update.
Remove from Results
This removes the selected items from the window. This allows you to "clean up" the results. This is especially useful for removing unwanted results from entire folder contents when using the hierarchical view, and then switch to the flat or icon view, with these items now removed.
Note that you can also add results that you previously saved to a .paths file by dragging that file from the Finder and dropping it into a Results window.
None of this will alter any files or folders on your disk; it only changes what's shown as results in FAF.

Hidden Preferences

There are a lot more "hidden" preferences, which are rarely needed, accessible only with some extra steps. They are listed on this separate page.

Search Criteria (Rules)

All Rules

Here are all available rules, including the "expert" rules that are only available when holding down the option (⌥) key.

Note: To fill the input field for a particular name, date, size, code or UTI, you can drag a file or folder onto the rule.

Matches file names ("Name ends with" will check the name's end excluding its extension).
Matches file name extension (also known as suffix).
Last modified date
Matches by the date the file or folder was last modified and stored on disk.
Created date
Matches by the date the file or folder was created on disk.
Last opened date
Matches by the date the file or folder was last opened or accessed.
Added date (hidden expert option)
Matches by the date the file or folder was placed into its containing folder. Hidden because it's not functional on all disks and relatively slow to access.
File size
Matches by the data fork size of the file, which is usually the size shown by the Finder (exception: If the file also has a resource fork, which is rare nowadays, that size is added to the size shown by Finder but not when searching by size in this program).
Resource size (hidden expert option)
Matches by the resource fork size, if it's present (rarely is).
Matches by a set of pre-defined file kinds:
Image, Video, Audio, Text (rich text including PDF, Pages and Word documents), Plain Text (i.e. non-rich text such as .html, .txt and markdown files), Word & Pages documents, Spreadsheet (Excel, Numbers), Presentation (Keynote, Powerpoint), PDF, eBook, Application, Archive (zip, tar etc.), Disk Image, File (i.e, any real file but not folders and packages), Folder (as shown in Finder), Package (including bundles), Directory (folders, packages, applications), Finder Alias (not symlinks), Symlink (not aliases), Alias or Symlink (ie. both kinds).
Choosing any means that this rule gets ignored in the search.
If you like to have more Kinds available in this menu, please contact me.
To sort the list, hold down the shift (⇧) key while the menu is shown.
Matches the Finder Tags of files and folder. For example, searching for "Tag contains ho" finds items with Tags such as "Hot" and "Holiday 2020". If a file has multiple tags, it counts as a match if any of the tags fits the rule. To find items that must gas multiple tags, add a separate Tag rule for each.
Label (hidden expert option)
Matches one of the 7 colors available as Tags. However, if a file or folder has more than one Tag of different color, a search will succeed only for one of the tag colors but not for the other(s). That's a limitation of how macOS has migrated Label colors into Tags, and FAF can't do much about this.
Choosing any means that this rule gets ignored in the search.
Searches "Finder Comments", as seen and entered in the "Info" window in Finder.
Is a Directory (hidden expert option)
Lets you limit the search to either files (No) or directories (Yes). Can also be achieved with the Kind is Directory rule.
Is an Alias (hidden expert option)
Lets you limit the search to either regular files and directories (No) or Finder Aliases and symlinks (Yes). Can also be achieved with the Kind is Alias or Symlink rule.
Is Dataless (hidden expert option)
Finds files that are offline, i.e. stored remotely (in the cloud). Works with iCloud files; may also work with other Cloud systems on macOS 14 and later.
Text content (formerly: File content)
Matches plain text content in files. The entered search string will be found inside files that contain the text in UTF-8 or UTF-16 format. Also, if the file is actually a compressed zip file, as it's the case with .docx and .xlsx, then the file will be decompressed before it's searched. That will allow you to find text in Excel and Word files as well. However, this rule won't find text inside otherwise encoded files such as PDFs. But if you allow Spotlight Results to be included in the results (see Preferences), then results from such files may be included as well, provided Spotlight has indexed them before.
Note that the text search will be case insensitive unless you also add the hidden rule Case sensitive content set to Yes (see below). This is even the case when using the "matches RegEx" verb.
Also note that when using "matches RegEx", FAF will attempt to search for the regex term as a binary (UTF-8) as well as UTF-16 (where ASCII characters are using two bytes each), in both endian orders. To turn that off (e.g. in order to prevent false positives), see the hidden preferences and look for the key "Content Search Regex mode".
File Type code (hidden expert option)
Matches the 4-letter codes used by Classic Mac OS files, such as slnk for symlink files.
Creator code (hidden expert option)
Matches the 4-letter codes used by Classic Mac OS files, such as MACS for files created by Finder.
Owner ID (hidden expert option)
Matches the Unix owner ID, such as 0 for files owned by root and 501 for the first user created on the system.
Group ID (hidden expert option)
Matches the Unix group ID.
File Type UTI (hidden expert option)
Matches file types based on their UTI code. See here for commonly used UTI codes. You can find exact matches or confirming matches, which means that if you search for UTIs conforming to "public.archive", it'll find all kinds of archive files, including .zip, .tar and even .docx because Word documents have their contents compressed in zip archives.
inode (hidden expert option)
Matches inode numbers, i.e. the internal file and folder IDs as they're stored on the file system.
Matches on the entire path (in POSIX style). Note: In v2.3.2 and earlier, it only matched the enclosing folder's path. Please use the "Folder names" rule if you do not want to include the found item's name in the matching, or set the Prefs Key "Path rule applies only to parent path" to YES in order to keep the old behavior permanently.
Folder names
Matches any of the folder names in which the to-be-found items resides. For example, to match files inside "/System/Library", both "Folder names is System" and "Folder names is Library" would work.
Negate conditions (hidden expert option)
Inverts what will be found. If set to Yes, all items that would not be matched by all other rules will then be considered a match.
Lets you choose a matching script for advanced searches. See the scripting page for more about this.
Choosing any means that this rule gets ignored in the search.
Case sensitive
If set to Yes (default is No), text entered into the Name, Extension, Path and Folder names rules has to match even in case, e.g. searching for "Name contains foo" won't find text files whose name contain "Foo" but finds those with "foo" in their name.
Diacritics sensitive
If set to No (default is Yes), file name matching ignores diacritics, so that searching for "deja" will also find "déjà". Note that this will make searches on local disks slower (can't use the fast search mode).
Case sensitive content (hidden expert option)
If set to Yes, text entered into the File content rule has to match even in case, e.g. searching for "File content contains foo"
Invisible items
Skips or hides hidden items from the results (if an entire disk is searched, they will still be found but not shown, whereas when searching a folder (or doing a "slow" search), such items will be skipped in the search, which may speed up the search process.
Package contents
Similar to Invisible items, but for Package (bundle) contents, including contents of applications.
Trashed contents
Similar to Invisible items, but for items inside the Trash.
Limit folder depth
Specifies how many folders deep the search should reach. A value of "1" finds only the immediate contents of the given start folder or volume. This also forces a "slow" search on searching entire volumes.
Limit amount
Limits the number of found items to the given number. Prevents the "Many items founds" confirmation dialog if the "Show Results Early" option is turned off.
Pass results (hidden expert option)
Lets you choose an application or a file that will receive the found items instead of showing them in a Results window.
Useful if you want to post process the found items in your own program, e.g. with AppleScript.
When saving to a file, it'll have the extension .paths, containing one path per line. You can then also drag these files onto FAF's app icon to open them again in a new Results window, or even drag them into an open Results window, adding the items to that window.
Slow mode (hidden expert option)
Forces slow search on volumes (useful only to test whether the fast volume search is returning different results, which can happen if there's a bug in FAF or when searching on certain NAS and Linux systems).
Spotlight Results (hidden expert option)
Can include or exclude Spotlight results, or even use Spotlight exclusively for the search. The latter is useful if searching on NAS systems that support Spotlight.

Name … verbs

All Rules
A "smart" search option, similar to the way Spotlight does it. For example, Name contains my voice finds file names such as "invoice for my car.doc" and "myvoice.mp3", i.e. any name that contains both "my" and "voice".
contains phrase
Searches for an exact (literal) occurence of the entered text in a file name. For example, Name contains phrase my voice finds "hear my voices.mp3", but not "invoice for my car.doc".
begins with
Finds files whose name start with the entered text.
ends with
Finds files whose name end with the entered text. Note that this usually means that you're matching on the file extension of files. If you have disabled the option to not show all file extensions in the Advanced Finder Preferences, then you may see many files without extensions in Finder, but FAF sees them. For instance, applications won't show their ".app" extension, so if you want to find apps like "PhoneView" and "Preview" with FAF, searching for Name ends with view won't find them, but Name ends with would.
Finds file names that are exactly as typed. For example, Name is hosts finds files named "hosts", but not "hosts.txt" nor "ghosts".
doesn't contain
Names must not contain the entered text. This is not a "smart" option like contains is. So, if you want to exclude names that contain neither "foo" nor "bar", you have to add this rule twice, one with "foo" and one with "bar".
contains words
First, this option is "smart" like contains. That means entering "my voice" will look for both "my" and "voice" as words in the file names. Secondly, these words have to be occurring as true words in the file name, meaning that searching for Name contains words my voice finds "this is my voice" and "voice, oh my!" but not "my voices".
matches pattern
Performs a simple wildcard match where the asterisk (*) stands for any number of characters. Examples: Name matches pattern foo*bar*.txt finds any names that begin with "foo", then contain "bar" and end with ".txt", such as "foobar.txt" and "foo is not barred.txt", but not "This is foo bar.txt" (for this, you'd have to search for *foo*bar*.txt).
contains any of
Lets you enter a set of alternatives ("or" operation), separated by spaces, of which at least one has to occur in the matched file names. You also use use line separators (returns) instead of spaces so that the alternatives may contain significant spaces; in that case, either enter the line separators by typing control-return or click on the (…) button at the right of the input field to open a small text editor where you can type multiple lines.
begins with any of
Lets you enter a set of alternatives ("or" operation), separated by spaces, of which at least one has to occur at the beginning of the matched file names.
ends with any of
Similar to the previous verb, but to match the end of file names, excluding the file name extension (to find a set of extensions, use the rule Extension is any of ….
is any of
Similar to the previous verb, but to match the entire file name, including the file name extension.
matches RegEx
This lets you write complex search rules using regular expressions.
You can use ^ and $ to represent the start and end of the file name.
Since v2.2, FAF uses the PCRE2 engine.

More features

Besides the obvious things you can see by looking at the menus, there are a few things that are not so obvious:

Launch Find Any File with a keyboard shortcut, just like it works with Spotlight

This can be enabled in the Preferences window of Find Any File.

For instance, to open FAF whenever you type ^⌥F (control-option-F) in any application, set the Hot Key up as follows:

Search multiple disks or folders

Dropping multiple disks or folders

To search a custom set of disks or folders, simply drag & drop them from the Finder onto the popup menu that lets you select where to search.

If you can't drag all the icons at once, you may also add them to an existing set by holding down the shift (⇧) key when dropping them onto the popup menu.

Instead of using drag & drop, you can also hold down the shift (⇧) key while choosing another item from the popup menu.

To make your choice permanent, use the command Save as Default Search under the File menu.

Filter the Results

Using the filter

Use the filter in the flat (non-hierarchical) list to reduce the shown items to the text you enter. Use the menu under the magnifier glass to choose what column to filter on.

Choose which columns to show in the Results

Choosing columns

Right-click on the column titles to get a menu that lets you choose which columns appear in the list.

Remember the preferred disks and rules for future searches

Using Save As Defaults

When Find Any File is launched, it always defaults to searching the boot volume. If you prefer to search a different volume by default, do this: Launch Find Any File, choose your preferred volume, then use the Save command to save the search criteria to a file. Next time, instead of launching Find Any File directly, open that saved file instead - Find Any File will launch with the presets you chose before.

Alternatively, you can set up your preferred search and choose Save As Default Search from the File menu in order to have these settings reappear next time you launch Find Any File.

(Note: If you have saved a Search with the option to start the search automatically when opening the file, you can still prevent the search from starting by holding down the option (⌥) key while Find Any File opens the document.)

Copy names, paths, shown columns and other properties of found items

You can select and copy the shown results in various formats. Copy names and references

Copy (⌘C) works like in the Finder: The names of all items will be put into the clipboard, along with a reference of each file or folder, allowing you to paste the items again in Finder, Mail and other programs.

Copy shown columns

If you hold down the shift (⇧) key when choosing Copy from the Edit menu, the values of all visible columns will be put into the clipboard, separated by TAB characters. This is ideal for pasting the results into a spreadsheet (Excel, Numbers), for instance.

Copy paths

Holding down the option (⌥) key when choosing Copy from the Edit menu will copy the POSIX (Unix) paths.

Copy in JSON format

Holding down the control (^) key when choosing Copy from the Edit menu will put all properties of each selected item in JSON format into the clipboard. This is useful for post processing the results with other programs.

Saving Results to a file, and loading them

The File menu's Save command lets you save the entire list of results from a window to a file, with the .paths extension.

You can then later open the same file again in FAF to get the results back in a window.

The format of the .paths is basically a list of POSIX file paths, with a few optional features, such as support for comments and metadata, described here.

If you open such a file in FAF, it will, by default, only list those files that still exist. If you check the option Deleted Items Remain Visible (in the Results menu), missing items will also be shown in the window, crossed out.

Note that you can also add results that you previously saved to a .paths file by dragging that file from the Finder and dropping it into a Results window.

If you are using Terminal commands that generate lists of file paths, e.g. from a "grep" command, you can pipe them into a file ending in .paths and then open that in FAF to view the list of found files more comfortably.

Editing the Results list (add, remove)

You can alter the list of shown items in a Results window. For instance, by selecting items and then using the menu command Remove from Results you can take them out of the list.

You can also copy items in one results list or even in the Finder and drag or paste them into another Results window, thereby adding them to existing items (duplicates will be sorted out, so that each file is listed only once, of course).

By these simple add and remove operations you can quickly create a list of items from several searches, and then perhaps save the list to a file to drag them on another program for further processing.

Operations that you can perform on the found items

Context menu

By right-clicking on a single item or on a selection, you get a contextual menu with lots of command that you also get in Finder, plus a few special ones:

Browse with BBEdit
Only available if you have installed BBEdit and its Command Line Tools (see its manual or menu bar).
Opens all items in a single BBEdit window. This feature requires at least v14.1 of BBEdit.
Find with BBEdit
Only available if you have installed BBEdit and its Command Line Tools (see its manual or menu bar).
Appears only if you had searched for text content. This lets you repeat the search BBEdit, so that you can see where the seeked text appears in the files exactly.
Delete Immediately
Deletes the selected files and folders right away, instead of moving them to the Trash. If the items are locked or system protected, FAF will alert you to try again, and then will attempt to unlock them (though this may not work with original Apple-installed files, which is usually a good thing).
Lets you rename a selected item.
Create Alias in…
Creates Finder Aliases for all selected items into one folder you choose.
Make (in)visible
Hides or unhides the selected item(s), as long as their name is not starting with a "." (those always remain invisible).
Removes locks and ACLs from protected files so that you may be able to move or trash them.
Remove from Results
Simply removes the selected items from the window (i.e. won't delete them from disk). For instance, you could use this to sort out unwanted items in a long list, by using the Filter to find such items, then select them all, and removing them.

Most of these commands can be issued via keyboard shortcuts as well. Look their shortcuts up in the Results menu at the top menu bar. And even the system-wide Services commands can be activated by shortcuts – you can assign these yourself in the System Preferences, under Keyboard / Shortcuts / Services.

Automate "Find All" (root permissions)

If you want to use "Find All", you have to hold down the option (⌥) key so that the Find button turns into Find All. Once you click on this button, you'll be asked to enter your password.

You can save your admin password in your personal keychain just for Find Any File so that you won't be asked for it every time any more. Here's how:

Now, whenever you launch FAF and want to search with root permissions, you need to hold down the option key. You can change that, too, so that FAF will always search with root permissions. To do that, launch the program and paste the following into it:

defaults write org.tempel.findanyfile AlwaysFindAll -bool yes

Press the Return key to issue this command. Now quit and relaunch FAF - the Find button should now read Find All. With that, you're set. (To turn off this feature, issue the Terminal command again, replacing yes with no.)

Start searches in FAF from other apps or scripts

See this web page for details on passing search parameters via the "fafapp://" URL scheme, which includes examples for use with Alfred, Keyboard Maestro and PopClip.

Adding files to FAF without using the Find window.

You can drag files and folders from the Finder or from other applications into a results window (type cmd-shift-N to start with an empty window).

Alternatively, you can copy files or paths into the clipboord and then paste into FAF's results window.

That's useful so that you can then use FAF's advanced commands, such as Unlock, Trash, Delete and Make (in)visible on the files.

Working with sets (lists) of files

Not only can you save the results of your searches to a .paths file (both with the "Pass results to file" rule and by using the Save command when the results are shown in their window), but you can also later open these .paths files again in FAF.

But there may be cases where you like to assemble such a list of files for further processing, but a single find won't be able to achieve that. To help with this, FAF lets reduce or expand the list of items in a results window:

Changing "hidden" preferences

FAF offers a lot of customizations that I added to fulfill individual user requests.

Those special options are not exposed in the user interface because they would overwhelm the average user with features that are probably never needed.

See the hidden preferences web page for details.

More Tips and Help

For more tips and troubleshooting help see the Support page.

Pro (professional) Features

The following abilities require a Pro License (click here for more information).

Search faster on file servers with SSH access

If a search can be run directly on a file server, it will be much faster than when FAF has to query all directory contents over the nextwork to inspect them.

If the file server you connect to, such as another Mac, a NAS (Synology, QNAP, WD MyCloud) or a Linux system, lets you log in via SSH, then FAF will automatically use this feature and searches can be finished in seconds instead of minutes.

See here on how to enable SSH access for FAF.

Search faster with the `find` tool.

The Unix (BSD) tool find can be about twice as fast as any other method for searching on local disks.

Therefore, FAF automatically uses this faster method if a Pro license is installed.

Can can disable this feature by setting the hidden preference "Search with find tool".

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 few extra search options (e.g. wildcards), displays results differently and has a single-window user interface which you might prefer.

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. While it relies on the Spotlight search feature, it gives you much more control over the search, similar to FAF, and also displays 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.

Finally, to see which files, applications and folders occupy the most space on your disk (FAF can't search for app sizes, only regular file sizes), consider DaisyDisk.

Version History


Lua scripting made possible with the help of Sean M. Meiners' ObjC bridge.

Full Disk Access enabling assisted by AccessKit by Stefan Fürst & Pierre Bernard (of HoudahSpot).

Crash Reporting achieved with CMCrashReporter by CodingMammoth.

Update checking achieved with Sparkle.

Squircle icons by Elias Ruiz ( and Miguel Beijoca; Retina icon design by Adam Betts; Classic icon design by Chris Paveglio.

Design support by James Hobson

I thank Michael Berglund, Edward Loveall and especially Alexey Volokhov for their contributions of alternative icons.

French translation by Ronald A. Leroux, Valdemar de Sousa and Rei Vilo, proofreading by Renaud Boisjoly and Stéphane Pinel.

Italian translations provided by Vincenzo Boiano (VinBoiSoft).

Initial Spanish translation by Natalia Portillo.

Initial Portuguese translation by Fernando Valente.

Japanese translation by Masahito Kawai of MacSTATION Inc

Many thanks to DEVONtechnologies for their support and for EasyFind.

This tool's design was inspired by the Classic Mac OS' Find File application, which also existed under the name Sherlock for a while, and which in turn was based on Bill Monk's shareware program "Find Pro".

Questions, Feedback, Contact

To contact me, write to
The app's website is:

I hope you enjoy using Find Any File.