Search By File Extension

From time to time I need to search for a file on my hard drive. Either I don’t remember what I named it or I think I know the name, but the one I am using is totally wrong. In that case, I usually try to search for the item by File Extension.


File Extension

I am sure you all know what the File Extension is. In case you don’t know, the File Extension is the data (letters and numbers) that is located to the right of the period in your file name. If you have File Extensions turned on in your Finder like I do (Finder » Preferences » Advanced):


Your Extensions will be showing. Like I said, if you cannot find a file any other way you might try searching for it by the File Extension. If you are searching for a common extension like .JPEG you will end up with a lot of files, but eventually you will find the one you are trying to locate. The found files should be listed alphabetically.

File Extension Search Process

Here is how you search on the File Extension criteria in the Mac OS Finder. The first thing you do is open the Finder and hit Command ⌘ + “F” for Find. You will be presented with this window:

Click for larger image

Click on that drop down list and choose “File Extension” for your search criteria:

Click for larger image

Next, type in the File Extension in that little window to the right:

Click for larger image

The Finder does an automatic search for the File Extension. In the above example, I used the Panorama X file extension .pandb as an example.

Let’s take this one step further. If you think you may be searching on the File Extension criteria from time to time you can save this search. Just click on the “Save” button in the upper-right corner of the window and you will be presented with this drop down dialogue:

Click for larger image

Be sure to check the box “Add To Sidebar” and give it a name. It will then appear in the Finder Sidebar with whatever name you gave it. Now, if you wish to use it again to search for a different File Extension, just double-click it and you will see this window:

Click for larger image

Then all you have to do is enter a new File Extension search criteria and it will find what you are looking for. When you are finished with that search and click out of the window it will ask if you wish to save it. Be sure and click “Don’t Save” and you are good to go. The next time you need to search on a File Extension your search will be there in the sidebar.


This is no big deal I guess. It is just one other way to get around in your Mac Finder. Hopefully, it will come in handy for future use.