From what I can tell, Finder searches do not follow symlinks. Is this expected behavior? I can't find it documented anywhere.


I've been syncing some PDFs using Dropbox (location A), but for various reasons I also want to be able to search their contents from another location, B, outside of Dropbox, where there are some other related PDFs. I kept the latter files separate because syncing them was unimportant and I wanted to stay in Dropbox's free tier.

Previously I had very convenient solution to this. Just keep all the files at location B and add symlinks to the relevant subfolders of B at location A. Dropbox would then sync the targets of the symlinks to my other computers as if they were plain files. Unfortunately they recently got rid of this behavior.

At first I just assumed I could swap the direction of the symlinks, but as far as I can tell, Spotlight searches at location B do not pick up any of the content of the symlinks (meaning their targets), only their metadata (filename, creation time, etc.).

I'd appreciate any suggestions for a workaround that would hit all my desiderata (1. keep only subset of files in Dropbox, and 2. search them and the others in Finder using a single search box). One thing I considered is just writing a cron job to rsync a hierarchy of hard links from B to A. But it seems hard links don't play nice with Dropbox (it will only sync edits or creations that happen inside Dropbox; creating a file at B and hard linking it to A results in the file never syncing).

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