Make Spotlight Sing: Use Dates To Search Your Files [OS X Tips]

spotlight

You know what I miss? Those pre-defined search items that used to hang out over in the Finder sidebar window. You know, the ones that said, “Files Created Today” or “Yesterday” or what have you. They were super handy.

Turns out, you can get the same sort of search power right in Spotlight. All you need to know is a little syntax, and you’ll be looking for stuff created or modified on specific dates or within certain date ranges. There’s even a way to request stuff done before or after dates. Yay!

Activate Spotlight with a quick Command-Space, or open a Finder window and click into the Search field in the top right.

Either way, type in your search argument, choosing whether you want to look for files that were created on a date or modified on a date, like this:

created:xx/xx/xxxx
modified:xx/xx/xxxx

Replace the x with actual dates, and Spotlight will return the files that you created or modified on that date.

Feel like searching a range of dates (“I’m sure I made that thing last week sometime”)? Use the following syntax:

created:xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx
modified:xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx

Using real dates (instead of the x placeholders) will get you a list of the files you made or changed within that date range.

How about when you want to find a file before a certain date, or after? Try this:

created:>xx/xx/xxxx
created: modified:>xx/xx/xxxx
modified:

Now you can find your files according to their creation of modification dates, which is super useful in my opinion.

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About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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