Setting The Finder Default Search

You probably just use the Finder like most us. Which means you are not aware or have forgotten some of the different settings that are available. Some people use the Spotlight App for searching on the Mac, but I think most of us just use the Search Box available in the Finder window. If you primarily use the Search Box in the Finder window, you can adjust where it searches by Default. Here is how to change this simple setting.

Default Search

Most people use the Search Box in the Finder window to do their computer searches:

It is the most convenient and easiest way for sure. That Search Box is set by Default to search certain locations on your Mac. To see what that setting is or change it, you need to go into the “Finder Preferences”:

Once you are in the “Finder Preferences” area click on the “Advanced Tab”. At the bottom of this window you will see “When performing a search”:

It may be set to “Search This Mac”. However, if you perform most of your searches in the Documents Folder, it might be more helpful to set this to “Search Current Folder”. If you were doing multiple searches in the same location, you could use the “Use the Previous Search Scope” setting.


Obviously you can change this setting depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Or, you can just set it and forget it. Either way it is kind of handy to be reminded that it is there.