See paths for Spotlight matches in Save As dialogs

In OS X 10.4, the Open and Save (As) dialog boxes have a handy Spotlight search box. You can use this to quickly find an existing file or folder on your system, for either opening or for saving into. (If you can’t see the Spotlight search box in the Save, click the triangular icon next to the filename line in the Save and Save As dialogs). However, there’s an apparent oversight, at least in the Save/Save As dialogs: there’s no apparent way to see the path to the folders the Spotlight finds. So if you’ve got 10 folders named “extra project files” (you keep one in each of your top-level project folders), you’d have no idea which one is the one you really want to use.

The good news is that there is a workaround. It’s not the most elegant solution in the world, but it does work. In the Save As dialog, make sure you’re using column view mode by clicking on the column icon (it appears just to the left of the path drop-down). Next, click in the Spotlight search box and enter your search term. After you have some visible results, click on any folder in the list to select it, then click the list view mode button (just to the left of the column view icon you clicked earlier). When the window’s view changes, notice the drop-down menu next to the column view mode button—click it, and you’ll see a drop-down menu showing the full path to the current folder. This is actually easier to do than it is to explain, so here’s how it looks in action:

Notice that the two Testing folders are on two different drives (one’s a leftover from my G5 migration a few months back). It’s a bit of pain to have to toggle back and forth between the views, but some path info is better than no path info.

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