These tips will help you work faster in the Mac’s Finder, the app that is the primary interface between you and your hardware.
1/ Smart folders — When you perform a standard Finder search by pressing Command-F (which gives you way more options than typing something in the Spotlight menu, please note, while using the same search engine) or using the search bar in any Finder window, you can a search as a smart folder. Just click the Save button in the top-right of the window. This saves the search as a Smart Folder which, when opened, will only show the files that match your search criteria. (You can also create smart folders by selecting New Smart Folder from the File menu.)
2/ Multiple search criteria — When performing Finder searches, you can use multiple criteria to narrow your search by clicking the Add button (+) at the top-right (next to the Save) then adding more criteria. You can use the drop-down to select specific metadata tags for narrowing your search; if you don’t see the ones you want in that list, you can also choose Other to choose from many, many more.
3/ Finder search logic — By holding the Option key when adding search criteria, you further refine your search by more complex logic.
By default, when you add new criteria to a search, the Finder will do so with ‘And logic’, meaning that files must meet all the criteria to be included in the results. However, you might wish to specify files by excluding some criteria by using a ‘Not logical statement’.
Implement this advanced search logic by holding the Option key down when you click the plus button to add a new criterion. When you do so, the new criterion will appear with a second line before it, which gives you the option of Any, All, or None, to specify how the new criterion (or additional criteria) will be handled in the new search.
4/ Organise selected files into folders — Another common frustration is when you have too many files in a folder. You can always rearrange and resort the files with the Finder’s view tools. But it can be more useful to arrange related files into subfolders. One way to do this is to create a folder and then drag a selection of files into it. But it’s quicker to select the files you wish to group, right-click them, and then choose the New Folder Containing ## Items (where ## is the number of items you’ve selected).
Right-clicking any selection of files in a given Finder window allows you to consolidate them within a new folder.
Unfortunately, this feature is limited to selected files within the current directory, so you can’t use it on search results that include files from multiple folders. The workaround: Run your search, then select and drag the results to a new folder.
5/ Reveal files with Spotlight — While Spotlight is the primary search option for OS X, you might find yourself using it only to find and open files directly in their default applications; many users forget that they can also use it to reveal files in the Finder. To do so, run your search, then use the arrow keys to highlight your desired file. Next, instead of pressing Return key alone, hold down Command key as you press Return. This opens a Finder window containing the file, and allows you to delete it, move it, open it in a non-default application, or otherwise manage the file directly.
Extra tip: Document path menus — Finally, if you’re tired of navigating your file-and-folder hierarchy the old-fashioned way (by clicking on successive parent-and-child folders in the Finder), there’s a quicker way to navigate: hold down the Control or Command key while you click on the little file icon at the top of document or Finder windows (or just right-click on it), and you get a drop-down with the file’s path. If you then click on one of the folders in that path, that folder will open in the Finder, with the appropriate child-item selected.
[These tips were taken – and edited from – Macworld.]
Extra extra — Actually, personally I prefer a Path button that just requires a single, normal click to do the same thing. You can add one, and choose from other options, by Control-Clicking on the Grey area at the top of the Finder window and choosing ‘Customise’ from the pop-out menu. Just drag the Path button – and any other you fancy – up into your Finder window’s button bar and this adds the button to every Finder window you open from then on. While in this view, you can also remove, by drag-and-driop, any button you don’t want in the tops of Finder windows.