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I want to have a quick and easy way to view all the files in a current folder, the so-called "flat view".

I see two possible ways for this, but none of them really works for me yet.

The first is to use the search field in the top right corner. It seems earlier macOS versions supported

-kind:folder

search criteria, but this doesn't seem to work anymore, at least on my Ventura 13.5.

The second approach, which I think would be even better, is to have a saved search in the Finder sidebar. You can create it using the following steps:

  1. Open Finder, click File > New Smart Folder

  2. Click the plus sign next to the Save button

  3. Hold the Option key so that the second plus sign will be changed to the ellipsis, and click it.

  4. Adjust the rest as follows:

    enter image description here

The second approach works, but I don't understand how to make it work for the current folder, that is, any folder I'm currently in. Is it possible? Or what are good alternatives?

(FWIW, I'm not sure I really want to not show folders in flat view. So if you have a solution or idea that works, but there is one single disadvantage that it doesn't hide folders, this might be nevertheless exactly what I'm looking for.)

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    Maybe we can work on what your ultimate goal is because recursion means going into each child folder up to and including the current folder. You make no mention of this, you just reference "current folder." Then you have a smart folder filter that it's not clear where you're trying to take it. Can you give an example of what you're trying to find wiithout the "technicals" added in?
    – Allan
    Aug 15, 2023 at 21:35
  • You can nearly get what you want, but have to accept it also lists the sub folders, by just entering a search of - and then selecting the current folder. It's a compromise, but the only other way I know of doing it is by not using Finder, but a 'replacement' Finder called Leap ironicsoftware.com/leap I used it a lot in 10.9 to 10.12 days, but couldn't justify the upgrade cost when I got into Monterey & beyond. Therein is the warning, Leap ain't cheap. Aug 15, 2023 at 22:36
  • Even entering - seems to return an incomplete result, not sure what the circumstances are, so YMMV. Take my comment above with a large pinch. Aug 15, 2023 at 22:48
  • Like @AndyGriffiths I would go for a 3rd party tool. HoudahSpot is my choice. Somewhat cheaper than Leap.
    – Gilby
    Aug 15, 2023 at 23:02
  • In the parent folder that contains the 12 child folders, just use the search term kind:pdf to get what you're looking for. If you want to do this by name, use name:foo.bar. That will give you all 48 files while excluding the folders themselves. Is that what you're looking for?
    – Allan
    Aug 15, 2023 at 23:31

2 Answers 2

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Like you, I have found that -kind:folder is not accepted in Finder's search box for macOS 13. But these are accepted in Finder's search box:

NOT(kind:folder), NOT (kind:folder), or NOT kind:folder

Try that.

The Apple Support page Narrow your search results on Mac refers to the use of AND, OR and NOT. It also clarifies the use of -, which means AND NOT as in trip -france.

I don't have a link to a more formal reference page.

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  • And as I have realized now, if one day this solution won't work anymore for some reason, we can simply use a period (.), because most file names have it and most folder names don't. Just a quick-and-dirty workaround.
    – jsx97
    Aug 15, 2023 at 23:57
  • @jsx97 I love name:.! I will add a link to the Apple support page.
    – Gilby
    Aug 16, 2023 at 0:06
  • "Apple support page" - Could you give a link?
    – jsx97
    Aug 16, 2023 at 0:18
  • @jsx97 The . issue might be true on other Unixes but for macOS not so truue each app and often files used by an app is a bundle which is a directory - Finder might see apps and som bundles as one thing but not all bundles.
    – mmmmmm
    Aug 16, 2023 at 8:55
  • Gilby, maybe you know how to make your solution work to show not just files, but both files and folders? I have tried kind:ANY, but this doesn't seem to work. As a workaround, we can negatively search for a non-existent file type, like NOT kind:abcxyz, but I would prefer to find a "real" way of doing this, not a workaround.
    – jsx97
    Aug 16, 2023 at 12:31
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I'm not sure if this is quite what you mean, but from List View, Opt/clicking any folder will auto-expand its entire hierarchy. This, of course, still shows folders in their correct places, but expands to reveal all contents.

Example - first just clicked, then opt/clicked.

enter image description here

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  • This is another way, thanks. I'm not really like List View itself, but yes, Opt-click do what I asked for
    – jsx97
    Aug 16, 2023 at 11:19

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