If Finder and Spotlight don’t do the deed for your then it’s time to get your Mac geek on with GoToFile, a very fast, incredibly flexible, and more accurate way to find files and folders wherever they are on your Mac.
Fuzzy Logic Finder
What GoToFile has that Finder and Spotlight do not is the Fuzzy Search option. Fuzzy? You don’t have to be absolutely precise with your search terms because GoToFile can figure out what you really truly want to find by employing a bit of so-called fuzzy logic. That, mixed with regular expressions (RegEx) makes for a very powerful search app.
On the surface, GoToFile looks simple enough. Open it up, enter characters you think will be used to find the file or folder or folder of files.
There is plenty going on in the background with GoToFile, especially with Projects and RegEx. For regular expressions you’ll need to know how to match specific file information.
Prefix your search term with a ‘+’ to match by Regular Expressions. If, for example, you are looking for files having the suffix “pdf” you’d enter +pdf$. Regular Expressions can also be used to exclude items from the result. In this case prefix the expression with “-“.
Now you’re getting your geek on.
A GoToFile Project is a method to find files faster by eliminating search in areas which obviously do not have what you’re looking for.
A project consists of one or more folders to search and rules which state which subfolders are to be ignored and which items are to be excluded from or included in the index. Indexes are kept in memory and updated automatically.
This built-in capability saves time because GoToFile doesn’t waste time looking where it won’t matter for a file that won’t be there when it looks for it.
Yeah, this is about as geeky as file searches can get on a Mac.
GoToFile’s built-in Browser mode makes it easy to gets started so you gain a better understanding of the Mac’s file system; especially where the Finder falls short. But the app respects the Finder through three system Services for Search, Search Similar, and Browse options which are integrated into the Finder’s Services menu.
The combination of RegEx and fuzzy logic makes GoToFile a better alternative than Spotlight and much better than digging around inside the Finder, but the app isn’t always for the faint of heart. It requires an understanding of how and where the Mac stores files, some RegEx knowledge, but it gives results than often are better than Spotlight’s massive list of files you don’t need or care about during a search.