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I would like to keep track of what files I have on the external drives where I store everything I do not need to access every day. Still, I would like to have some way to know what drive I should connect if I need a specific file.
Is there a tool capable of creating a Numbers document that would keep the hierarchical folder/file structure of a drive's content so that one could search through such a document (or even just in the Finder) and know where a file is?

You may say: why don't you use a cloud service? There you can store everything you want and then search for it. Nice you asked! I recently discovered that evicted files are automatically removed from Spotlight search (the extended attribute that determines its addition to the V100-Spotlight index of every folder gets stripped upon eviction). Try to search a file that has been evicted within its own folder: you won't find it!!
This may seem less of a problem on macOS where you could download everything locally (though requiring a huge internal SSD, and that may not be enough), but on iOS/iPadOS one doesn't have the option to keep cloud files local indefinitely.

Any thought on this and possibly solutions, even via Terminal, scripts, apps, anything, is more than welcome!
Thank you and take care!

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    If you have BBEdit, dragging a folder onto an open document will paste the name hierarchy, although an entire volume might take a while.
    – red_menace
    Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 20:59
  • How then can I save it in a way that can be opened by Numbers? Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 22:14
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    In the Terminal, do find /Volumes/YOURDISK > ~/Documents/YOURDISK.txt.
    – lhf
    Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 22:59
  • @NotationMaster I don't know what kind of formatting you are looking for, but Numbers will open text documents. BBEdit also has a powerful search (that includes grep, if you are into that).
    – red_menace
    Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 1:16
  • I tried just that: opening the txt file from BBEdit into Numbers creates a non-optimal result. Folder hierarchy is divided into columns and then every file is a cell. One cannot group things iii a searchable way like that. Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 13:09

2 Answers 2

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File List Export does exactly what you want. Give it a folder (or whole drive) and its lists all files. Export to CSV and import it into Numbers.

Numbers might have problems with a large listing - Excel is more robust.

I am an occasional user of File List Export which is in the Mac App Store at a very low cost.

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  • I'm also trying this, but the demo is much more limited than NeoFinder. Plus, it doesn't seem to have an Auto-Update feature. Of course, it costs 15 times less :-) Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 13:11
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I'd have a look at NeoFinder.

It catalogues entire drives - it started off 25 years ago as CDFinder, for cataloguing your backup CDs but has expanded quite a bit since then.
You can index any mounted or networked drive, then browse or search it on or offline later.

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  • I'm now trying this. The Auto-Update feature is massive. The only downside would be the size of the catalogue if one wants it to be detailed and with lots of metadata. In my case, though, the quickest listing seems enough as I simply need to offset the limitations of iCloud Drive searching. Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 13:10

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