Beyond Basic Find: Advanced Searches

MacOSX has a great search feature called Spotlight. If don't use it you should. It's powerful and has a lot of options. You can learn more about Spotlight here

However there are times when you want to do a very specific search and for that you either need to use a powerful commercial application like HoudahSpot. It has a lot of options and gives you a lot of flexibility but unless you do a lot of searching it might be overkill.

Mac OS X does have some great search features if you know how to use them. That's what I'm going to talk about today.

Start your search by opening a finder window and typing the standard Mac shortcut for find -  Command+F.

Click on the "Name" Dropdown menu and select "Other…" 

This will bring up a menu of search options. There are a lot of options. Scroll through the list to see what search variables are available.

In this example I wanted to find all the ripped movies that were HD. To do that I knew I needed to find any file that had a height of 720p or 1080p.  It isn't obvious but the variable to search for is Pixel height and/or Pixel width. To enable that search function just click on the "In Menu" checkboxes on the right.

High definition movies today are 4K or higher. That means the display device or content has a horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels. Old school says that 720p (720 pixels) or 1080p (1080 pixels) are  still high def. Or at least they are by my ancient TV standards.

In case you need a refresher:

1080p Movies = 1920x1080
720p movies = 1280x720

In some cases movies use a different aspect ratio so if you want to find any movies that are 1080p you need to search for "Pixel Width = 1920".  The height might actually be less than 1080. 

In my case, I wanted to find all my HD movies in a specific folder so I searched for any file that had Pixel Width greater than 1280. 

Play around with the search attributes. By combining variables you can make complex a lot of variables into something you can use. If you plan on using the same search over and over remember to click that "Save" button so you can use it again. 

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