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I know this might be possible in alternatives to the Finder (PathFinder, TotalFinder, Marta, etc.) but I've found those—even though they have some really nice benefits, like the extensibility of Marta—to give me much more pain than benefit, so I'd like to instead fix the main glaring flaw in the Finder, if that's possible.

I don't want to permanently make the Finder show all dot files (sometimes called "hidden", although that's ambiguous since there are other ways to hide files in Apple file systems), so the solution using defaults write is out (and that may or may not affect searches, anyway).

. is awesome and solves the problem when browsing in the Finder, giving me nice clean lists of folders and files for the 80% of the time that I want that, but showing me dot files for the 20% that I want those to be visible.

But what about when searching? In the following example, I'm looking for all locations of Obsidian vaults, which store their settings in a directory viewable in a terminal window as .obsidian, but this cannot be found as folder in the Finder. How can I fix that?

Finder search window failing to show folders beginning with a dot

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  • Depends where it is - see apple.stackexchange.com/q/449006/85275
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 18:55
  • @Tetsujin I searched for my .zshrc file just to test whether the problem was either (1) limited to folders or (2) related to my Obsidian vaults being in iCloud, and it failed to find that file too. So I don't think the location adequately explains the problem.
    – iconoclast
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 19:00

2 Answers 2

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First, I can confirm what you are seeing with 'dot' files and folders.

What I believe is happening is:

  • Finder uses the Spotlight index to look for files.
  • Spotlight doesn't not index dot files.
  • Therefore Finder search does not find dot files.

The same is true for other apps which use the Spotlight index - e.g.HoudahSpot.

My evidence for this is the brevity of output from mdls:

mdls .zshrc
kMDItemFSContentChangeDate = 2022-07-17 23:14:31 +0000
kMDItemFSCreationDate      = 2021-11-11 23:54:13 +0000
kMDItemFSCreatorCode       = ""
kMDItemFSFinderFlags       = 0
kMDItemFSHasCustomIcon     = 0
kMDItemFSInvisible         = 1
kMDItemFSIsExtensionHidden = 0
kMDItemFSIsStationery      = 0
kMDItemFSLabel             = 0
kMDItemFSName              = ".zshrc"
kMDItemFSNodeCount         = 830
kMDItemFSOwnerGroupID      = 20
kMDItemFSOwnerUserID       = 501
kMDItemFSSize              = 830

To find Dot files/folders, you need to use an app which scans all folders. For this I use Find Any File or EasyFind. (EasyFind is free, but FAF is faster).

Here is EasyFind looking for both .cups (a folder) and .zshrc (a file). enter image description here Don't miss the tick box at the bottom left.

I am sure you will be able to search for .obsidian to find the folders you are looking for.

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  • So the problem is that Spotlight sucks, not that Finder sucks 😅
    – iconoclast
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 15:12
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Here which i found, try pressing keys together:

Command + Shift + dot(.)

This should the hidden files including the dot extented files. Press the same keys to hide them again

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  • 1
    How does this help in using search?
    – nohillside
    Commented May 9 at 12:32

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