Executing a Finder search for folders seems limited to searching for folder names beginning with the search term. I can't search for folder names only using a characters in the middle or end. I'm having to resort to using the find command from Terminal. Any way around this? Below is a sample folder and multiple search attempts:

folder with all subfolders searching for "son" does not return anything, even though subfolders ending in "son" exist

This is my first post here so I can only post two images, apparently. I have an additional screen shot showing a search for "jo" which indeed reveals every subfolder beginning with "jo". I have a fourth screen shot showing that a search for "bert" fails to return "robertson" "colbertson" etc. Those searches were both name-based searches with the same "kind" restriction to folders only.

What's up with this?

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Different. - feel free to upload the image and post it as a comment. Someone else can edit it in for you if it's helpful.
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


In Finder try using this:

Kind is Folder
Name ends with son

This should display all folders ending with "son".

Try also, begins with and contains for similar searches.

Folder name search Finder

  • Omg... well, that works, so thank you. But why is the behavior different between files and folders? I've never had to specify "ends with" when searching for a file ending in "son". I just search for "son" and it works. But it doesn't work with folders.
    – evan
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 23:01
  • Good subject for Apple Feedback. Cheers!
    – bjbk
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 23:03

I haven't found a way to get variables in spotlight, but I must be misinformed since that seems so useful to not implement.

That being said, I use terminal and mdfind to parse spotlight like you have all the time.

mdfind "kMDItemFSName == '*son' && kMDItemKind == 'Folder'"

That will show you all folders ending in son and you might want to grep for the "sample names" folder name to replicate the search you have illustrated or use the -onlyin command:

mdfind -onlyin dir "kMDItemFSName == '*son' && kMDItemKind == 'Folder'"

You can drag the folder into terminal to get a properly escaped name with spaces encoded and then paste that in place of dir

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    Whoah. Good to know. Thank you. Definitely faster than using find. Would still love to be able to do it directly from Finder...
    – evan
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 18:56
  • Wow! Drag into terminal - thank you for that!
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 1:36

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