[SOLVED] How to build a complex Saved Search folder on Finder?

I’d like to create a folder on Finder with the queries shown in the screenshot (screenshot from DevonThink).

The idea is to exclude from the Smart Folder all the files that doesn’t have tag1 OR tag2…(each file has only one tag).

I have the same files in the Finder, all of them under only one folder.
I try to make a search (in the folder that contains the files) excluding the tags above, but I see no files (there should be about 250 files who hasn’t any of these tags).

What am I doing wrong?

Hope it makes sense.

I’m not sure that using “is” or “is not” works the way you would thinking does for tags. Perhaps try “does not contain” instead? That’s what I use in Finder searches for tags.

DEVONthink’s search is not the same as Finder’s. You really want it like this (Finder search shown):

Because you want none of the tags present.

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How to build a complex Saved Search folder on Finder?

Best bet in my opinion would be to buy and use

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Alas the only negative condition I see in the Finder for the tags is “is not”.
But I’ve tried with many tags, and it appears it doesn’t work.
No matter the tag I want to exclude, the Finder shows no files at all.

CleanShot 2023-12-28 at 12.20.46@2x
(screenshot in Italian language. The only negative query for the tag is the last one: “is not”)

How do you find the option “None of the following are true” on Finder?

If I click on the search filed and start to add queries, I see only the list of the queries.
Please see the screenshot:

Something I’m evaluating, as HoudahSpot in on SetApp.
But what’s the added value, compared to the native Finder?

More capable and more flexible building of searches than Finder (that can also be saved). A mode that can be turned on that begins finding and displaying matching search results with each character you type. A tabbed interface for working on multiple searches … just to mention a few things that I like about HoudahSpot.


The query you’ve written above isn’t an OR, it’s an AND. It will only show a file if ALL of the listed Tags are not attached to a file. (If you change the ALL to an Any, it becomes an OR)

Please bare in mind that the query will look at each file in isolation to see if it matches the rules you made, not at all of the files at the same time

The line above is a double negative, “exclude and doesn’t” Do you mean ‘Show files which do not have the listed tags’? All of the tags listed (AND) or Any of the Tags listed (OR)

Sometimes it’s easier to decide what it should show rather than what it doesn’t. Can you write the query in plain english that way? It may help you when you go to create it if you’ve written and simplified what you want as much as possible.

Try holding Option (⌥) while hovering over the + to add criteria to the search in finder. You’ll see the + change to an ellipses, which will give you a new group when you click on it.

I hope that explanation makes sense!

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Also helpful is that the search conditions can be dragged around or deleted since adding the AND/OR/NONE condition generally leaves things a bit ugly. Sadly it won’t insert it before the search criterion but inserts it after the search criterion. I don’t think the folks at Apple have given this feature much thought, but at least they provide it.

WOW I really than k you all for all of these precious insights!

Eventually, I’ve installed HoiudahSpot (from SetApp).

I’ve already used to create the searches I was looking for, then saved for further edits and…I’ve exported them as Finder saved search!
The latter is invaluable for me.

In the meantime, I’ve already used the App also to make many filtered searches: it’s easier than the Finder.