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It used to be that, when I did a search in Spotlight, I could determine the folder containing the file by holding the Command key while the mouse was over the name of the file or the file was selected. That process is also described at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7913975

However, since I upgraded to Ventura (version 13.3.1), holding the Command key while the file is selected or the mouse hovers over it no longer reveals the folder containing the file.

This is an important feature, which I used frequently, especially when I wanted to know where a group of files was located and I knew the name or contents of one of the files.

Some applications, like Microsoft Word, will show the folder if you double-click to open the file, and then select File/Save As... However, some (like Textedit) do not.

How can I determine the folder containing a file located by Spotlight in Ventura?

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  • This works for me: you have to use the arrow keys to select the file, though. Mouse over doesn't do it.
    – benwiggy
    Jun 8, 2023 at 8:17
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    cmd R will also reveal the containing folder in Finder
    – Redarm
    Jun 8, 2023 at 9:33

2 Answers 2

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In "normal state" the Finder results show details about each result item on the right (on a LTR env).

When holding Command the detail part of the selected search result shows the path of the item.

If the path is too long to fit on the Spotlight popup it gets truncated in the middle but usually gives enough hints where to search further.

Below is the feature tested on MacOS Ventura 13.4, showing the location of Macintosh HD > Applications for Google Chrome.app.

Screenshot of the Spotlight popup

The functionality seems to be working w/ at least Ventura 13.4 on M1 and Ventura 13.3.1 on Intel but apparently there can be differences regarding different OS versions or Apple/Intel hardware as per comments.

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  • I have two machines and observed following: MacBook Pro (Intel) with Ventura shows path while holding Command but Mac Mini (M2) with Ventura doesn't. Jun 8, 2023 at 5:57
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Thanks everyone for your responses.

I have been using an Intel MacBook (16", 2019). When I posted the question, I was using Ventura 13.3.1. With that version, the Command key did not reveal the path. Here is a screenshot:

Screenshot showing Spotlight search for Google Chrome with Command key pressed in Ventura 13.3.1, not revealing the file's path

At the time the question was posted, on my Intel MacBook with Ventura 13.3.1, "Check for Software Updates" did not show Ventura 13.4 as an available update, in spite of it being cited in another answer. However, the next day, Ventura 13.4 was available. I updated to Ventura 13.4, and now holding the Command key to show the path in Spotlight seems to work.

Now, when I type the first few letters in the search and use the arrow keys to move the selection, and then I hold the Command key, after a brief delay (less than a second) the path appears. The screenshot without holding the Command key:

Screenshot showing Spotlight search for Google Chrome before the Command key is pressed in Ventura 13.4, also not revealing the file's path

But here is a screenshot while holding the Command key:

Screenshot showing Spotlight search for Google Chrome with Command key pressed in Ventura 13.4, this time revealing the file's path

So, this appears to be a problem in Ventura 13.3.1 which has been resolved in Ventura 13.4. Again, this is on an Intel MacBook. I have no explanation for why this is different than what @Jawa found.

All of these screenshots were taken from video I captured, so I know that I did not miss the effect of using the Command key. You will note that the icon also changes when holding the Command key in 13.4 (it becomes the Finder icon when the path is shown). That also did not happen in 13.3.1

Regarding the position of the mouse, it does not matter where the mouse is; only the file that is selected has its path shown. To see the path of the first result, it appears that you do not need to use the arrow keys to select it, because it is selected automatically.

A bonus solution (thank you, @Redarm!) is that pressing Command R will open the finder to reveal the file, which allows you to find the file even when the path is so long it is truncated. That trick also worked in Ventura 13.3.1, although I did not know about it until @Redarm's comment. However, it has the disadvantage of only showing the path for one file for each Spotlight search.

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