How can I force Finder to only search the current folder, ignoring the contents of all the sub-folders?
I don't want to exclude the sub-folders permanently from Spotlight, just for a certain search.

The reason I want to do this is that I sometimes have a folder with sub-folders that contain files/folders that are identically named. A simplified example is shown below:

|-folder 1
|  |
|  |-config.txt
|-folder 2

When I'm in main and hit CMD+F and type config.txt I get three files. I don't want to click every file to see which one is in main and which in another folder, so ideally the sub-folders wouldn't show up in this search.

  • Interesting question, wonder why ! – Ruskes Jul 28 '13 at 18:07
  • I've been wondering the same thing. Cmd-option-f gives access to some more search options but excluding subfolders doesn't seem available. – Neil Neyman Jul 29 '13 at 2:29
  • Very surprised that all the answers here involve using something other than Finder. Is there really no way to do this from within Finder?! – Wowfunhappy Nov 2 '18 at 0:32

Use Unix find as follows

find . -maxdepth 1 -name config.txt -print

In Terminal, type man find for details.

If you do this often, you can make it into a shell function.

| improve this answer | |
  • This was far easier than messing around with the Finder – jcollum Dec 26 '18 at 18:43
  1. There is a product called Path Finder 6 that offers a feature called "filters and selections," demonstrated here.

  2. You could try selecting all the items in the folder you are searching and applying a Label, then perform a Spotlight search for your item "AND" the additional criteria of "file label" by holding down the option key while clicking on the plus sign.

| improve this answer | |
  • Point number 2 is actually the answer. Too bad we need to dance around and there's no way to simply check a box for this. Would actually make a search very simple (not deep/recursive). – bauerMusic Apr 7 '18 at 7:25

Possible workaround, although this doesn't really answer the question. Not sure if there's a built-in option for this.

  1. In list view, make sure all folders are collapsed --cmd-a (select all) and command-left-arrow are shortcuts for this.

  2. Without selecting the search box or using cmd-f, begin typing the name of the file "config.txt" and this will select that file in your current directory.

| improve this answer | |

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .