More flexible searching on file path

Hi all,

I store project files in Finder by having a master folder for each project. Each project has similar sub folder hierarchy, e.g., src, meeting, logs, results …

I use the program “GoToFile” to do quick search. It’s basically a fuzzy “file path + filename” searcher. I can quickly locate project file, for example, “HIV” project, by searching “HIV” and the keywords in the sub path or filename. Files of the same/similar names from other projects won’t show up in the search result.

I have been planning to use devonthink to store all the inbox project files, leaving Finder to store the output, e.g., source code, presentation.

I applause DT’s powerful search capability on “folder name”, “filename”, “filename + full content of file”, with score to rank the search results.

However, I wonder is there a way to do “folder name + filename” search to reproduce the convenience I have with GoToFile?

I suppose tagging the files with “folder keywords” could work, but I would like to keep the folder structure in DT so if I export the content back to Finder, it won’t be a mess.


If you perform a search, it will, by default, search in the group you have highlighted (ie selected); you can change the scope of the search simply by selecting another group. Above the results field you will also see a bar from which you can select the parent group(s) of the selected group.

I’m not sure if that’s what you’re looking for; I don’t think you can include the group name in the search field itself (search-term scope:name-of-group is not possible, for example - that’s a weird omission, actually; I wonder why).

You could also use group tags (see manual; basically select Database properties from the context menu of a database and then deselect Exclude Groups from Tagging); every file in a group would be tagged automatically with the name of the group; you could then include tag:name-of-group in your search. The tags are automatically removed if you turn off group tags, or when you move the file to a different group.

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Hi Blanc,

Thanks for your suggestion. I just tried and it doesn’t work as expected. I can’t do a path + filename search, it’s either a tag/folder or filename, but not both.

Simple path and filename fuzzy search is fast and easy. I just need to type whatever I can recall in my mind and it magically works 95% of the time.

Deep search with more settings is for that 5% (e.g., easyfind app for MacOS; Devonthink build-in search)

I will stick with Finder and leave Devonthink only for archival purpose.

It is unfortunate for Devonthink as a very versatile and capable app to lack simple and “it just works” searching capability. I hope they will consider adding this functionality in the future release.


Can you post your exact search term please? I’m quite sure you can search for file name and tag (and most certain you can do it by clicking on advanced and using both criteria; but I’m pretty sure Blabla AND Tag:wherever works too; not at my Mac, can’t test)

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Just confirmed this works (I didn’t even use AND; I only typed *208 tag:nocheck, the rest happened automatically). You can also use name:yoursearch tag:yourtag; so you certainly can search for both components.

Thanks for showing me the screencap.

Now I see where is the difference – I only typed the keywords, e.g., “208 nocheck” in the search bar (as what I would do if I use GotoFile app), instead of specifying “noncheck” is a tag.

No problem; I had written that:

but - as is often the case - a picture says more than a thousand words. I’ll try and remember that in future :slight_smile:

Are you happier now - is DT doing what you want & need it to? :slight_smile:

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Search prefixes are covered in the Help > Documentation > Windows > Main Window > Search Pane and Appendix > Search Prefixes.

Blanc: sorry that I know DT can use more complex query in the search bar (as suggested by Bluefrog), but I am a user get used to lazy google or GoToFile search (or the “Everything” app in Win) that I only type the keywords and revise on-the-fly in almost 99% of the time :slight_smile:

I use the GUI in DT to do more complex search.

Well, I am glad to know DT can’t do the simple search I wanted to, so I don’t have have to think about this anymore and will stick to GoToFile and MacOS :slight_smile:

I thought I had just successfully showed you that it can perform exactly that search (which was “folder name + filename” (or in the DT nomenclature “group + filename”) simply by turning on Group Tags and using “tag + filename”

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Google and GoToFile are restricting matches under-the-hood; you just don’t see it.
DEVONthink gives you more powerful options, so you have to tell it to restrict the scope of the search.