Mac newbie: Does OS X not have Incremental Search?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by blue2gnt, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. blue2gnt macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    I'm not new to Apple products after owning an iPad and five iPods, but I am new to Mac, and therefore to OS X.

    The only niggling thing that Windows XP does that I cannot seem to activate in OS X is incremental search. Is this not a feature than can be used in Mac OSs? :mad:

    For those who aren't sure what I am talking about, incremental search is what the OS does (at least in Windows) when you attempt to save a file (such as an image). As you begin typing the filename, Windows will suggest underneath a list of all other files in that same folder that begin with the same series of letters. So if you're saving a bunch of photos with a simple number designation at the end to differentiate them, if their filename is quite long, incremental search makes saving these files 10x quicker. Here is a picture showing what it looks like it Windows:

    So, when I save a photo with the following filename:
    "Sebastien Buemi (Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5) - Suzuka '10 (01)"
    and then go to save the next file with the only difference being that the "(01)" at the end becomes "(02)," I can simply type "Seb" and tap the down arrow key to highlight the suggestion, hit delete twice, and enter "2)." and I'm done. Please tell me this is possible in OS X?? I save thousands of photos a month, most of which are sequentially named this way...I'd hate to not be able to save photos on my Macbook due to it being simply too time-consuming.
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    One option. From the Open window (or Finder) hit command+shift+G. This brings up a little prompt window. This allows for tab completion of paths. Not quite the same, but may be helpful.

    On Save dialogs you can do the same thing, or if you delete the file path and type / or ~ it will switch to that mode.

    Yet another tip, if you drag a file/folder from Finder to the save field, it will put the path to that item in the window.

    Also, since this is about naming files sequentially, you may want to check out Name Mangler, which can do renaming wonderfully.
  3. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    In the "Save" dialog, just click on any file in the folder you want to save to, its name appears, then you modify the name as you like. No need for searching.
  4. blue2gnt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    Thanks for the quick reply. Hopefully this discussion will prove a useful resource for other windows converts who are wondering the same.

    Your first two suggestions don't apply to what I am trying to do. However, your third one led me to the same result Gnasher suggested below and is helpful, if not completely ideal. It is less efficient than what I'm used to, but it does help; Which is a shame because so far everything else I am getting used to in OS X seems to be much more user friendly than in XP with the exception of the fact that for whatever reason there is no 'cut' option for files and folders in OS X. Still trying to wrap my head around that one.

    As for Name Mangler, I presume that works the same way as FileBoss does on PC, which is a program I use often. The problem is, it only works on files that are already saved to the computer; meaning, it doesn't solve this issue for me.

    There's no need for searching in Windows at all. As soon as you start typing a filename in a "save as" dialog box, all of the files in that folder that start with the same sequence are already listed for you. Obviously, the more you type, the further this list is refined to more specific files.

    However, your suggestion is helpful, as long as the folder the file is going into has a small number of files, I can just click on the filename I want to replicate, and then press CTRL+Right Arrow key to jump to the end of the filename and make the number sequence change. The reason this is far from ideal is that most of the folders the pictures go into have thousands of images in them, so clicking on the image you want to copy the naming from is not really possible without scrolling all the way to it...which eliminates any time savings from doing it this way. The other issue is that no matter how big you expand the "save image" window, the "save as" input line does not get any wider. So viewing the entire filename of a long file is not possible, even on a large display.

    So... it appears as though every few weeks when I need to save 100-300 photos at a time, I will still need to do it from home, on my PC. I am glad I came across this problem now, because I was on the verge of replacing my PC with a 27" iMac...and I think I'll need to run bootcamp if I'm going to do that, which I had not originally intended. I think this is one of the things about which longtime Mac users were unaware of just how easy PC users had it. I hope this feature gets added to OS X is quite simple.
  5. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    Save photos from where? I'm morbidly curious now, because i guess I don't understand what you're doing that needs to be so repetitious. If you're telling me that you are having to type 300 filenames when you want to save 300 photos then it doesn't sound to me like you have it easy at all. I must be missing something.
  6. blue2gnt, Nov 30, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

    blue2gnt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    This is going to be long-winded for the sake of clarity, but here's just one example...
    After each Grand Prix, this website, along with several others, posts a few hundred extremely hi-res photos from the race. I have a catalog of the past 30 years of videos and photos I have saved from each GP, that are all organized into a consistent naming format (example)
    Driver Name (Team Name Chassis Name) - GP Venue '2-Digit Year (File Number).
    Yes, I am probably OCD.

    So, I right click the first photo I want to save > press "K," (the shortcut for "save link as") to save the full-res version of the photo without having to open and load it first > and then type in the filename for the first image. Here is the handicap when doing this on my Mac compared with XP: Each image of the same driver that I save after the first one, on PC I simply change the final part of the filename to the next number in the series. Such as:
    Sebastien Buemi (Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5) - Abu Dhabi '10 (01)
    Sebastien Buemi (Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5) - Abu Dhabi '10 (02)

    On the PC, once the first file is saved, saving the second (and every subsequent image of the same driver or car) takes about 3 seconds (try it). The third file in the above series would be:
    right click
    press "K"
    type "Seb"
    click the up arrow
    press "delete" twice
    enter "3)"
    press "Enter"

    An ancillary benefit of this feature is that it eliminates any typos I might have made in the middle of the filename due to having to type the entire name out each time.

    Using the suggestion above, where I click the filename I want to replicate and jump to the end to make the edit, will save me having to type all the names in full, but like I said, it's not as convenient. On the PC, the only mouse input I have to make is the initial right-click. Having to mouse over to the filename in OS X so that I can click on it will make the filesaving process here 2-3 times longer and more tiresome. 2-3 seconds sounds petty, but when you're saving 300 photos twenty times each season, 20 minutes for each race is much better than an hour. You're probably thinking "just save them from home." The problem is, I am out of town for work so often that much of the photo saving is done away from home. This also prevents me from making my desired switch to an iMac desktop at home too...I was hoping my 3 steps forward by switching to Mac would come without 2 steps backward.
  7. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    I understand why you choose not to use subfolders — oh, wait, I said that wrong, I don't have a clue.
  8. Xenc macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2010
    London, England
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-gb) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Use some sort of automation to replace the long winded exercise you currently endure. Your 20 minute job will be complete in no time.
  9. blue2gnt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    Subfolders for what? The issue isn't the folder structure, it's the lack of an incremental filename suggestion feature that is present in OS I'm trying to migrate away from.

    Are you saying create a new folder for each season? So when I want to see all pictures from one driver I have to look in anywhere from 1-20 different folders? Horrible idea.

    How about a folder for each driver? Right, I'll just create 1500 subfolders.
    Folder for each team? Again...multiple locations for the same driver.

    Not to mention the hell this would be when I need to cross-reference my pictures to see if I already have a certain photo...I'd have to use the search function for every single picture. With all pictures in one folder I just go into that folder, start typing the name, and I'm taken right to the first picture...I don't have to do that in every folder a particular driver is placed in.

    All my music is in one folder, All my F1 photos are staying in one folder. Besides, separating them into subfolders at this point would take weeks even if I wanted to do that.
  10. Xenc macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2010
    London, England
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-gb) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    You could use Spotlight searches with filters to grab specific sets of images (for example, "all images from Event X" or "all images with Driver Y in 2009 taken on Course Z" and so on). This could be done whether or not you choose to organise your photos in subfolders. Have you considered iPhoto or similar?
  11. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    Candidly, I think the real issue is that you're trying to use filenames as a database and they're poorly suited for that job. Have you considered migrating to an application like iPhoto or Aperture or Lightroom which is designed to automate exactly this sort of image categorization? Not only would it significantly simplify your importing process but it would also tremendously enhance your ability to access and work with the photos you are storing.

    I don't think you truly realize the flexibility, power, and simplicity you're giving up.
  12. blue2gnt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    Again, I don't want to have to use a search feature to find a photo. Having them all in one folder, I simply open the folder and start typing what I'm looking for. The additional benefit of the single-folder structure is that any time I want to I can go into that folder, press enter, and just start flipping through every F1 photo I have, rather than seeing only photos from the same subfolder.

    We're straying off subject a little...changing my folder structure is not an option, for many reasons. I do appreciate the suggestions, but what I am really looking for is an app, hack, script, or anything else that will give OS X the filesave functionality that is present in XP. I realize that may be a crazy ask, since many people think it's crazy that Windows users want a cut/paste feature for their files on a Mac, but there it is. The suggestions above are more like "ways around" the lack of this feature in OS X.
  13. blue2gnt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    Now we're getting somewhere!
    Being new to Mac I am totally unfamiliar with all of those programs. But, I will now start looking into them.

    Candidly, you are absolutely right. The big "BUT" is, that as long as I'd been working in Windows, using filenames as a database was not problematic. There are likely very similar databasing programs for Windows but I was never inclined to bother looking for them because the process was already so quick and easy. Now that it isn't I am searching for a fix. I don't want my Mac to be a handicap on my productivity in ANY area (I bought this machine for primarily my work use, which is heavy use of Excel, Word, and Email) so I will follow your iPhoto suggestion and do some research there.

  14. swift1337 macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2010
    Forgive me if I don't understand some aspect of your problem, but this first suggestion from angelwatt seems to deliver pretty much what you want.

    Say you're in Safari and you want to save an image with a systematically chosen name like you've described. Right click on the image and choose "Save Image As...". Navigate to the folder you want to place the image in. (Not a big deal, as it'll remember the last one you used.) Now hit command-shift-G and type the beginning of the filename. After a brief pause, the full filename will appear. Make changes as needed, then press Enter. This will return you to the "Save As" window with the filename you chose filled in. Hit Enter again to save.

    Not as convenient as Windows, since you have to be aware of the command-shift-G trick, but still, you can do what you want on OS X.
  15. blue2gnt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    Sorry to Angelwatt, the first time I tested your suggestion for some reason it didn't work. I think once I started typing the filename it took too long for the suggestion to populate and I jumped back out. When I tried it again and waited a few seconds, it popped right up. The "brief pause" was the part I missed.

    You are a lifesaver, and thanks Swift1337 for catching my mistake!
  16. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    The easiest way to accomplish what you want to do would go something like this:

    • switch your open dialog to list view (the middle selection that looks like three or four lines)
    • select the "Modified Date" column (i.e., sort by date, newest at the top)

    The dialog will (should) remain like this until you change its mode or sorting. The last file you saved will be at the top, where you can just click on it and change the name as needed.
  17. tpth macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2007

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