I find myself regularly needing to limit a search to a particular kind of file, like images or mail messages. Or I know that I have a limited number of files on my Mac of a certain kind, like those created by OmniGraffle, and I can’t remember the file name—just that I created it in OmniGraffle!
You can use Spotlight in the Finder or create a smart folder for repeated uses that will fit this need. In the Finder, press Command-F to bring up a new window with the focus in the Search field.
From here, you can type freeform, entering something like
kind:image statue if you’re looking for all image files in any format with statue in the title or metadata.
You can refine this further by, instead of using the Search field, using the criteria fields just below. By default, macOS prefills the search window with “Kind” and “Any.” From the first popup menu, you can choose different criteria, but Kind is a good place to start. From the second menu, which reads Any, you can choose different general categories, like Image, Document, or Text. The Finder groups all the different known file types for those categories into that search.
What if you’re looking for something more particular, like every video in the .mov file format on your Mac? I’d say start with Kind set to Movie, otherwise, you’ll get matches in other files that end with .mov that aren’t movie files, as I did!
Then click the + sign at the right of the Kind line and choose Name, Ends with, and enter
If you need to repeat this search, click Save and you can save the query as smart folder to access again without rebuilding your request.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Leonie.
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