Is there a way to search with wildcards like in Windows Explorer?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Mad Mac, May 24, 2008.

  1. Mad Mac macrumors regular

    May 15, 2008
    I have a folder and I'm trying to search only specific files so that I can delete them in one click and I can't seem to find a quick way to do this. Any method I try in Finder still involves weeding out files I don't want.

    The files I'm searching go:
    V1***.jpg (ex: V1000.jpg, V1234.jpg, etc.)
    and I'm trying to just get the ones that go V1*3*.jpg.

    Normally in Windows Explorer, I would search V1*3*.jpg and it'll give me a result with all the files so that I can do a select all and delete. Finder in OS X doesn't seem to allow me to use wildcards? Perhaps there's a different way to get the results I'm after? :confused:
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Use the Terminal type UNIX commands or learn how to use Spotlight.
  3. cmaier macrumors G5

    Jul 25, 2007
  4. Mad Mac thread starter macrumors regular

    May 15, 2008
    Thanks for the link.

    Yes, using Terminal gets me the wildcard search results. But in order to move the files around it gets messy with having to type out long paths. Even dragging a path into Terminal is clumsy at best. I prefer to stay in a GUI environment. Isn't that the whole point of OS X? Simple and elegant ways to do things?

    Finder does seem to work. But having to select Raw Query, enter the string (kMDItemFSName == "xxx*xxx"), etc. is clumsy. I tried saving the search to use as a template but it seems to only save that specific search with no way to change the actual file names being searched.

    Spotlight doesn't seem to do wildcard searches at all (unless there's some cryptic string I have to use?). Even if it did, I can't seem to select a group of files to drag/drop. At most I can only click on one file and it opens in the application. Seems more of a singular file locator/app launcher than for file management?

    Am I missing a totally different way of doing file management or is using Finder with Raw Query my only option within a GUI environment?
  5. GotPro macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2007
    Well, that is the point. Simple and elegant in the GUI. I don't think the searches you are trying to find (mostly unusual) could in any manner be considered simple.

    The 'find' command is your friend... and it is incredibly easy via the terminal to copy / move files around. To navigate long paths... don't forget your [TAB] key as you type...

    For example...

    If you are trying to use cp to copy the following file:

    /Developer/Examples/Quartz Composer/Quartz Composer Visualizer

    All you actually have to type is:

    cp /Dev[TAB]Ex[TAB]Qu[TAB]/ [TAB]Q[TAB]

    With the [TAB] being the tab key... and OS X auto-completes the rest of the path for you.

    Terminal is definitely the way to go both for those heavy duty searches AND the moving and copying of the files.
  6. dirt farmer macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2005
    Try EasyFind. It searches by wildcard, and it's fantastic. I have not touched Spotlight in months, ever since I got this great little app.
  7. chocodup macrumors member


    May 17, 2008
    I think you can do such a query with the standard find function of the Finder.

    You have to decompose your queries in basic requests :
    - File name begins with V1
    - File name ends with .jpg
    - File name contains 3

    In order to enter these queries, in a Finder window :
    - activate the find function :)apple: + F)
    - enter each basic query using the appropriate buttons / text fields (click the "+" button to add a new basic query)

    In this case, I think it is identical to the pattern you gave in example.
    This is not as powerfull as wildcards, but it can help most of the time.
  8. Mad Mac thread starter macrumors regular

    May 15, 2008
    Thanks for the tip! Very cool app and so far works like a charm.
  9. ICEBreaker macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2007
    Man, I am having the exact same problem. I can't believe there's no wildcard searching (or simple alternative) in OSX GUI. That's really shocking.

    Well I guess Chocodup's method does work... Thanks!
  10. marcusj0015 macrumors 65816

    Aug 29, 2011
    Holy ****, you Mac fanboys just don't give up do you? How do you make something simple and elegant? By allowing ANYONE who uses it, to find their **** and get the job done, don't get my wrong, I have a Retina Macbook and an iPod touch, but you seriously buy that ********? I know this post is old, but that bolded part was just astonishingly bad, how could you excuse Apple's lack of foresight, or care or whatever you want to call it, as them trying to provide for the User?
  11. obdave macrumors member

    May 25, 2008
    Path Finder

    Yes, you can do all this stuff from the command line, but sometimes it's nice to have a fully-featured search utility available in a Finder-like environment.

    I've been using an app called Path Finder for a few years now. It offers very powerful search capabilities (including Wildcard), and it doesn't deliberately hide some search results like Finder and Spotlight do (ie, it will find things in Library and System folders). It also has nice utilities for viewing and changing file permissions, it shows hidden files, and it has a nice tabbed browser interface.
  12. carlosalbertoteixeira macrumors newbie


    Dec 23, 2015
    Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
    Simple and perfect answer. Many thanks, Mister.
  13. linda hen macrumors newbie

    linda hen

    Nov 29, 2016
    This is beyond brilliant! Thanks to all who suggested this app and pointed me towards it. This brings "easy and elegant" back to the Mac world--too bad Apple didn't think of it or include it in any of their Operating Systems (not even in Siera--what a surprise--NOT).

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