Good day, I recently noticed that my Mac is not searching inside files any more. If you notice, when you put in a search string at the search bar in Finder, Mac will also look up that string inside files it can read the text in (Word, Powerpoint, TextEdit files, even Java, PHP, C/C++ files -- as long as the file can be read as text).

For example, if you look up "Hello World", it's going to look for all files containing in their filename and in their file content the string "Hello World" and show those files.

This is very handy because I can just search up a line of code I want to search and then all the files with that line of code will show up, I wouldn't have to check every file individually as it will get very tedious once the files in my code work reach 20+ files.

Does anyone know how to make Finder search within files again? I've tried resetting my laptop, as well as PRAM and SMC but to no avail.


1 Answer 1


grep command can do the same thing:

To find word "main" in all files(and directories) in the current working directory
In terminal: grep -r main *

  • wouldn't that take quite some time tho...? I'll check it out nonetheless, thanks!
    – Razgriz
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 8:06
  • it's even faster than finder search if used to.
    – FrontENG
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 8:12
  • Hm I don't think it is. :/ I had to navigate to my workspace to get a faster result and I'm pretty sure I didn't have to do that with finder. Do you know a way to reallow finder to search within documents...?
    – Razgriz
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 15:02
  • EasyFind.app can do the in-file search (Download from: download.cnet.com/EasyFind/…)
    – FrontENG
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 1:05
  • In EasyFind you can specify the extension (.txt, .cpp, ...) of txt files to search. This can really speed up EasyFind if you know file extension.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 19:47

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