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I'm trying to find snippets of code in a bunch of velocity files using Spotlight (specifically pages that contain a <html> tag. Spotlight's missing pages that contain that tag that I know are there. Is there a way to escape characters in Spotlight? What are some good alternative search engines for Macs?

I saw this article - http://www.macworld.com/article/132788/2008/04/spotlight2.html - but it doesn't say anything about special characters, like periods or tags.

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If you don't mind using the terminal then you could perform a grep search

example:

grep --recursive "foo" ~/Desktop

This will provide you with a list of files containing the regex "foo".

This will only search in the Desktop folder and any subfolders. Additionally you can use the --line-number option to also get the number of the line which has been matched.

If you just want to find files by filename you could also use the "find" utility.

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