Searching File Contents

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My sister-in-law uses a MacBook Pro and prior to installing Yosemite, she says she was able to search business invoices by typing the invoice number in the Finder search. The thing is, the invoice number was not in the file name. It was part of the text inside the Word document.

We tried going into finder and adding an additional search field in to the criteria bar after opening "show search criteria". We set the new criteria to search "contents", and then entered the invoice number she wanted, but no luck.

Does anyone know whether, under Yosemite, it is possible to search a key word or number that exists within a word file from the finder search function and without opening the word file? For example, to search for a number such as 018262 that is part of a word document text, but not part of the file name?
 
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I'm having no trouble at all getting search results of contents when I give this a whirl. Do you know if this problem is limited to the contents of Word documents, or any type of document?
 
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chas_m

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I just tested this in Yosemite 10.10.2 (beta) and it worked correctly -- an invoice number and nothing else revealed it in both my Mail data and in my Invoices folder as expected.

Probably time to run OnyX and have it rebuild the Spotlight index.
 
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Thanks

I spoke to Apple Tech Support and they fixed the issue for me on my 2014 MacBook Air. This is the conversation I had with Tech Support, but the solution for mine didn't work on my sister-in-law's 2008 MacBook Pro. Please take a look and suggest, if you have time, what the problem might be with hers considering that it worked on mine:

06:36:25 AMJohnThanks for contacting AppleCare chat support. My name is John. How can I help you?
06:36:32 AMJamesHi
06:36:45 AMJohnHi James. I see that you are having problems finding files in Finder, is that correct?
06:38:19 AMJamesMy problem is that I remember, under Mavericks and mountain lion, being able to search for both files and for key words within word files without them being opened. I have lots of business invoices, but the invioice numbers were part of the word file text. They were not in the file name. I was able to find them by typing the invoice number into Finder. Now I cant do that under Yosemite
06:39:35 AMJohnOkay James. I can definitely understand this being an issue. If you wouldn’t mind I would like to ask you a few questions about this.
06:39:42 AMJamesOK
06:39:46 AMJohnMay I ask how long ago you installed Yosemite?
06:40:41 AMJamesAbout three weeks ago. I have a friend who installed it yesterday and she's having the same problem.
06:41:12 AMJohnI just tested by typing in the name of an Advisor on a spreadsheet and I have actually had the correct results in doing so.
06:41:20 AMJohnSo I think that we may have to do a few things to resolve this.
06:41:25 AMJamesOK
06:41:27 AMJohnMay I ask if you know how to get to Disk Utility?
06:41:51 AMJamesIs it startup disk?
06:42:12 AMJohnI do not believe so. May I ask if you can click on Finder > Applications > Utilities ?
06:42:22 AMJamesok, one sec
06:42:37 AMJohnOnce there you should see Disk Utility. I need you to open that and then let me know once you are there please.
06:43:28 AMJamesgot it'
06:44:02 AMJohnThank you. Now what I would like you to do is click on the indented Mac HD on the left please.
06:44:10 AMJohnThen on the right select “Repair Disk Permissions” please.
06:44:37 AMJamesdoing it now
06:44:45 AMJameswaiting for it to complete
06:45:14 AMJohnAlright thank you.
06:45:22 AMJohnHow much time does it show that it needs, if I may ask?
06:45:29 AMJamesA minute or less
06:45:52 AMJohnAlright awesome. A minute left generally means that there is a few minutes left.
06:46:03 AMJohnBut you have a flash drive so you should be good to go.
06:46:25 AMJamesok its done
06:46:29 AMJohnAlright perfect.
06:46:35 AMJohnNow if you do not mind click on Verify Disk please.
06:47:31 AMJamesdone
06:47:58 AMJohnThank you. Now if you can click on the Mac HD above that (or the 128gb ___ drive) and click on Repair Disk please.
06:48:33 AMJamesDone
06:48:39 AMJohnAlright perfect.
06:48:47 AMJohnSo go ahead and close out Disk Utility for me please.
06:49:05 AMJamesDone
06:49:06 AMJohnThen click on the Apple and Select System Preferences please.
06:49:28 AMJamesok done
06:49:43 AMJohnOnce we are in System Preferences I would like you to please click on the Spotlight option and then choose Privacy.
06:50:01 AMJamesok
06:50:15 AMJohnNow before we go any further there (leave it up as we will need it in a moment please.) open Finder and then choose Finder by the Apple and select Preferences please.
06:50:54 AMJamesok
06:51:03 AMJohnOnce we are in preferences, please select Sidebar and at the bottom, ensure that Hard Disks has a Check mark in it please, instead of a dash.
06:52:13 AMJamesok
06:52:36 AMJamesdone
06:52:37 AMJohnOkay then please close out the finder preferences and Finder
06:52:38 AMJohnThank you
06:52:52 AMJohnI hand type out these directions, sorry.
06:53:08 AMJamesFine, I've got plenty of time
06:53:23 AMJohnOnce that is closed, please go back to the Spotlight window and click on the + sign in the bottom left of the Privacy Tab.
06:53:41 AMJamesok
06:53:56 AMJohnOnce you do that, on the left hand side of the Finder window that appears Select Mac HD and then click on (Choose) in the bottom right please.
06:54:25 AMJohnThis should select the entire Mac HD and then place it in the white area above the +/- signs
06:54:41 AMJamesdone
06:54:58 AMJohnAlright, now please highlight the Mac HD in the space above and then click on the - sign.
06:55:30 AMJamesSo remove what I have just added?
06:55:35 AMJohnThis will force the Disk to become searchable again in Finder. What is going to happen is that finder now has to Index the Drive and ensure that all files/folders etc are searchable.
06:55:38 AMJohnYes, please.
06:55:56 AMJamesdone
06:56:10 AMJohnBy forcing it to disable / enable searching it should allow you to be able to Search the way you used to.
06:56:33 AMJamesYou want me to close everything now?
06:56:38 AMJohnJust to ensure that we have taken every step possible, I know need you to close that window.
06:56:49 AMJamesok
06:57:05 AMJohnThen open Finder > Click on the Gear in the Center of the Border and choose Show View Options.
06:57:31 AMJamesok
06:58:23 AMJohnSorry James, I meant to say choose Show Search Criteria, not View options
06:58:53 AMJamesok
06:58:53 AMJohnThis way when you search you can look specifically for the Invoice Numbers.
06:59:01 AMJohnYou may also be able to type it in and just find it now.
06:59:50 AMJamesok, seems to be okay now, was it a change in Yosemite?
07:00:05 AMJohnNo, it was the way your drive was able to search.
 
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Everything the Apple support tech had you do could have been done more easily with Onyx. Download that for your sister-in-law and run its full suite of maintenance and cleaning tools. Once done, reboot and see if that clears up her problems
 
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chas_m

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Thanks for posting that Apple log -- good to know they're still doing an excellent job! They pretty much suggested exactly the same thing I did, only using the built-in Disk Utility and Spotlight preferences rather than OnyX. Still, it got the job done!
 
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Unresolved...

My sister-in-law's MacBook Pro is still not showing file contents in Finder or Spotlight. I installed OnyX and ran through the options available, but no luck. She can open the files manually and verify that the existence of the invoice number, but if she types the invoice in Spotlight or Finder, it's still not coming up.

As this used to work fine before Yosemite, I am wondering whether the search function was wider by default pre-Yosemite. This shouldn't be an issue it seems, and it's not like they're in an external HD. They're all stored in Documents, but it's just not finding them. It only seems to search file names.
 
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My sister-in-law's MacBook Pro is still not showing file contents in Finder or Spotlight. I installed OnyX and ran through the options available, but no luck. She can open the files manually and verify that the existence of the invoice number, but if she types the invoice in Spotlight or Finder, it's still not coming up.

As this used to work fine before Yosemite, I am wondering whether the search function was wider by default pre-Yosemite. This shouldn't be an issue it seems, and it's not like they're in an external HD. They're all stored in Documents, but it's just not finding them. It only seems to search file names.

Open System Preferences » Spotlight. Make sure "Documents" is checked. Ditto for "Spreadsheets" and "PDF Documents" if she needs to search the contents of those. If they are checked, then toggle them off, then back on. Also check the "Privacy" tab. Are there any locations there where Spotlight is not allowed to search?

If that doesn't work, we may need to delete a preferences file to "reset" Spotlight back to default preferences, but we'll come back to that if need be. Try the above first.
 
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MacInWin

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She can also look at EasyFind, a third party searching app that I use. It's quick and works well.
 
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She can also look at EasyFind, a third party searching app that I use. It's quick and works well.

True, but the problem here is that it shouldn't be necessary.
 
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MacInWin

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In business, which is where she is, the adage is that "time is money." She CAN continue to wrestle with the technology, or get EasyFind and wrestle with the business. You are totally correct, but pursuing the theoretical "it shouldn't be necessary" is not going to solve her business problem as fast as just getting EasyFind and moving on.
 

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