I'm on Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). What's the best way to find a folder for which I'm not sure of the full name?

For example, I know the folder name I want is like:

  • "farm-animal-type"

But the full name may be something like:

  • "farm-animal-type-horse"

On Windows, I would just use the find tool through Windows Explorer.


7 Answers 7


If you take interest in the command line:

find / -type d -name "*farm-animal-type*"

you can change the starting area from / to whatever you want if you have a good idea of where the folder is generally located. Spotlight will be much snappier as the folders are indexed though.

  • 3
    Should one take interest in both the command line and the snappyness of spotlight, one might find mdfind [whatever] interesting ;-)
    – trolle3000
    Feb 26, 2010 at 0:56
  • 1
    I prefer to use -iname to ignore the case of the folder. Mar 17, 2010 at 17:40

Using terminal, you can do:

mdfind kind:folder "farm-animal-type"
  • 2
    Best answer!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!
    – neoswf
    Sep 30, 2019 at 18:13
  • 2
    Wow, pretty fast!
    – Floam
    Oct 22, 2019 at 17:19
  • Note this is not an exact match search. It does partial matches as well. So it would also find "farm-animal-type-pig", for example.
    – rmooney
    Apr 16, 2021 at 18:55
  • 1
    This works much better than the selected answer! find / always throws tons of permission denied errors that clutter the result. Dec 2, 2021 at 21:19


In the top right of any finder window there is a text-based input for searching.

OR, the magnifying glass in the menubar on the top right of the screen.

  • Or Command-Space if your Spotlight settings are still the default.
    – dotHTM
    Mar 7, 2010 at 17:17
  • 1
    If I search for "Foxit Software" (without the quotes) I get no results for a folder despite the fact that there is a folder with this exact name in /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support. None of the folders in that path are hidden. Nov 28, 2017 at 5:24

On Mac OS 10.10.5 (Yosemite), in Finder, click on the "+" button at the top right, just below the search string. Set "Type" = "Folder" and you're set!


As suggested by @John T and @macek above, Use Spotlight. It's much faster than using the wildcard in the terminal with find or locate commands if your folder name is having common file/application tags, such as searching for a folder with tags Python or Java. In your current case, it should work fine with any approach, but it's noteworthy and should be kept in mind.

  • Hi Akhil and welcome to Superuser! Great to see that you want to contribute to this site. This site aims to be a question/answer repository and is trying to reduce duplication. Your answer seems very similar to this answer (as you note yourself), so I'm not sure if it's of added value. Next time, please consider if your answer is adding something new before posting it. Looking forward to see more of your contributions! Jun 25, 2019 at 14:38
  • @SaaruLindestøkke duly noted. Just to be clear my answer is a detailed one. I've even mentioned the two similar answers in mine. Thanks!
    – mrVerma
    Jun 26, 2019 at 12:10

In the finder:

Command + F

Sends you to the right top search box. There, type:

kind:folder and then, after a space, the word (or letters in a sequence) that you want to appear in the folder's name.

For example, if I want to find a folder that I remember it contained the word "personal":

kind:folder personal 

it retrieves for me the following folders:

"1_PERSONAL", "1.1. Personal Statements", "personaldata", "Personalization".


In Finder, enter the folder name into the search window on the top right. Click the small + icon appearing below the search window to add a new search criteria. All the way to the left on the new search criteria item, select "Kind" from the left dropdown and "Folder" from the right dropdown

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