I have a bunch of formatted spreadsheets scattered all across my computer. There are literally thousands of them. I want to get them all into a centralized folder and have mostly done that, i.e. most of these documents are located inside of a single folder (recursively anyway, there are some within subfolders of that single folder), there are a few stragglers however, maybe 5% of them. Currently in my Finder/Spotlight search results, I have to sift through thousands of files located in the correct location to find them. (note: I wasn't able to find a way to sort the documents by their locations/parent-folders...that would be a potential solution here, but I'd have to change the title of the question)

So I'd like to search for documents NOT contained within a given folder. I've tried this so far without success:

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I'm guessing I could use Automator but feel like that's a little hardcore given the strength of Apple's native tools, terminal commands being even more-so.

1 Answer 1


You can use HoudahSpot to search for spreadsheets that are outside your centralized folder. Full disclosure: I am the developer of HoudahSpot.

In HoudahSpot you can create a search for spreadsheet files. Specify that you want to search your home folder, but want to exclude the folder you set aside for spreadsheets. Start the search and then drag the search results to the folder where you want to centralize your spreadsheets.

You can also customize the search results list to show additional columns, including the file path.

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