Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The Finder's search bar is an integral part of my workflow. I am constantly using it to search the contents of files within various folders.

However, typing into this bar always searches the entire machine by default. In order to make it search just one folder, I have to click a second button.

Is there a way to change this so that it searches the current folder by default?

share|improve this question
+1 Great question and soooo useful!! – daviesgeek Feb 14 '12 at 6:36
up vote 41 down vote accepted

Finder -> Preferences -> Advanced

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
That'll do it. Thanks! – Synesthetic Symphony Feb 11 '12 at 14:24
I can't believe I didn't think of that. – daviewales May 12 '14 at 13:07
@daviewales I can't believe the default is to search the whole computer. I have literally never wanted to search that way. – Michael Sep 13 '14 at 21:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.