The Finder's sidebar search for "Recents" (in High Sierra) is a raw query, which can be found here: /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Resources/MyLibraries/myDocuments.cannedSearch/Resources/search.savedSearch.

The query string goes like this:

(kMDItemLastUsedDate = "*") && ((kMDItemContentTypeTree = public.content) || (kMDItemContentTypeTree = "com.microsoft.*"cdw) || (kMDItemContentTypeTree = public.archive))

This also looks for Microsoft stuff. The relevant part of the query is:
kMDItemContentTypeTree = "com.microsoft.*"cdw

What does the "cdw" part of this query accomplish? And what does it stand for?

I found another mention here for mdfind usage: https://gist.github.com/cwalston/7425465

!   -interpret        Force the provided query string to be interpreted as if the user
!                     had typed the string into the Spotlight menu.
!                     For example, the string "search" would produce the following
!                     query string:
!                     (* = search* cdw || kMDItemTextContent = search* cdw)

2 Answers 2


cdw is an abbreviation for these search queries with this functions:

c: Case insensitive

d: Diacritical insensitive

w: Word-based, and detects transitions from lower- to uppercase


Mac OS X Snow Leopard for Power Users: Advanced Capabilities and Techniques by Scott Granneman


The cdw at the end of the query string means the comparison should ignore case, diacritics, and width (which is mostly relevant for text with Asian characters).

1st source: How can I find files by content in mac os x?

Use this modifier... To specify a comparison that is...
c                             Case insensitive.
d                             Insensitive to diacritical marks.
w                            Word-based. In addition, the comparison detects transitions from lower-case                                to upper-case.
t                              Performed on the tokenized value. For example, values passed directly from                                a search field are tokenized.

2nd source: CSSearchQuery

  • Thank you very much klanomath. I'm slightly confused about the discrepancy between "width" and "word-based" for the "w" in your answer.
    – Redarm
    Oct 24, 2017 at 14:05
  • @Redarm Me too, two sources with slightly different explanantions...
    – klanomath
    Oct 24, 2017 at 14:08

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