Narrow your search results on Mac
When you search on your Mac in Spotlight or in Finder and other windows that have a search field, you can use several methods to focus the scope of your searches and the search results.
Tip: Want to exclude items from Spotlight results? Set options in Spotlight preferences.
Add criteria to a search
You can add criteria to a basic search. For example, you can search for particular kinds of files, or for items created on a particular date.
Start your search on your Mac in Spotlight or in a Finder window.
In Spotlight: Click the Spotlight icon in the menu bar, enter your search, then double-click “Show all in Finder” at the bottom of the search results list to display the Finder search bar.
In Finder: Enter your search in the search field, then press Return.
Click the Add button on the right side of the search window, below the search field.
Click the far-left pop-up menu, then choose or add search criteria.
For example, to search for only a certain type of item instead of all items, choose Kind. Or to search for any item whose name contains a particular word or phrase, choose Name.
To add criteria, choose Other, then select each attribute you want to add. For example, to search copyright information, select Copyright in the list of attributes, then click OK.
Choose criteria from other pop-up menus that appear.
For example, after you choose Kind, click the other pop-up menu to specify Document or Image. To add a kind, choose Other.
Add or remove search criteria as needed by clicking the Add button or the Remove button .
To appear in the search results, an item must match all your criteria. For example, if one criterion specifies searching for items whose name begins with S and you add a criterion to search for items created today, the search results include only items created today whose names begin with S.
Search for metadata attributes
Most items contain metadata that describes the item contents, how it was created, and other attributes. For example, when you take a digital photo, information such as the camera model, the aperture, and the focal length are among the many attributes automatically stored in the file as metadata. To view metadata for a file, select the file, then choose File > Get Info.
Here are examples of how you might use metadata attributes in a search:
trip kind:document searches for the word “trip” in documents only.
author:tom searches for all items written by Tom.
kind:images created:8/16/19 searches for images created on a specific date.
kind:music by:“glenn miller” searches for music by Glenn Miller.
modified:<=7/29/19 searches for items modified on or before a specific date.
Search by the type of items
You can use keywords to specify the type of items you’re searching for, such as apps, contacts, or bookmarks.
To specify the type of item, add the text “kind:[type of item]” at the end of your search. For example, to search for photos of New York City, enter “New York City kind:images.” To search for email messages that mention Amy Frost, enter “Amy Frost kind:email.”
Type of item
There are several other keywords that you can use to find items, such as from, to, author, with, by, tag, title, name, keyword, and contains. To use a keyword, enter it followed by a colon, then enter your search term. For example, enter “author:Emily” or “title:New York City.”
Search using AND, OR, and NOT
A Boolean query uses AND, OR, and NOT (known as Boolean operators) to narrow search results. You can also use a minus sign (–), which means AND NOT, to exclude items when you search.
Here are examples of what you might type in a search field when you use Boolean operators:
author:tom OR author:thom searches for items authored by Tom or Thom, if you don’t know the exact spelling of his name.
trip -france searches for items that contain the word “trip” but not “france,” so results might include photos from a trip to Spain but not to France.
kind:message date:6/29/19-7/25/19 NOT date:7/14/19 searches for email messages dated from 6/29/19 through 7/25/19, but excludes those dated 7/14/19.