How to Find Files by Type with ‘Everything’
This guide contains instructions on how to use voidtools’ Everything to find all files of specific type on Windows OS (Operating System). While the following instructions were recorded on Windows 10, the steps are applicable to any version of Windows from Windows XP onwards. To be able to follow along, you must have basic familiarity with Windows.
What is Everything?
Everything is a Windows desktop search utility that lets you rapidly find files and folders by name. It was first released in 2004 by its developer, David Carpenter. It is freeware which means that it is distributed at no monetary cost to the end user.
Why Use Everything?
Unlike the default file search method on Windows, Everything indexes the name of every file and folder on your computer. Indexing is the process of collecting and storing data in a way that allows fast retrieval of information. Because Everything indexes the names of all files and folders, you can quickly find them if you know their names or naming scheme.
Now, it’s possible to perform similar indexing directly in newer versions of Windows. However, Everything is easier to setup, use and control.
Downloading and Installing Everything
If you don’t have Everything, you can visit https://www.voidtools.com and download it. There are two main choices to make:
- System Type (32-bit or 64-bit)
- Installer or Portable Zip versions
You can find your System Type under your System Information. If you are not sure, don’t choose 64-bit as that version will not work on a 32-bit Operating System.
The Installer is the recommended way of installation. You can use the Portable Zip version if you don’t wish to modify Windows or plan to run Everything from a USB drive.
For more on installation, please access: https://www.voidtools.com/support/everything/installing_everything/
Running Everything for First Time
When you run everything for the first time, it’ll ask you for Administrator privileges so that it can index your files and folders.
For this guide, we’ll Run as Administrator but if you plan to use Everything frequently, you may want to opt for installing the Everything Service. The Everything Service will run quietly in the background and update the index when it detects file and folder changes. Once you make your selection, it will build the index for the first time. It will take about a minute or so; you can confirm the status by looking at the bottom left of the Everything window. Once it’s done, it will report the number of entries in the index. As you will see, your computer has thousands of files and folders!
Finding all Files of a Specific Type
If you want to find all your documents or all your images, you can take advantage of the default filters:
To use these, click on the Search menu and click on the filter of your choice. Based on your choice, you’ll see files of that type.
You may need to get more granular; for example, you may want to find only your Word documents or only your PNG image files. For this scenario, you need to perform a search query of the file extension for that type of file. Since the name of the file also contains its extension, you can search the index by file extensions as well!
To do this, after you’ve selected your default filter, click on the first input box and type your desired file extension. In the image below, the filter is set to Document (see bottom right) and the search query is “.doc” which is the file extension for Word documents.
If you don’t see any results, ensure you have the correct filter setup. Searching for “.png” with an active Documents filter will not yield any results. This is because PNG files are considered as Pictures and not Documents. If necessary, select the Everything filter first, perform the query and then pick your desired filter.
With a combination of filters and file extension queries, anyone can use Everything to find all files of a specific type. The files can then be sorted, modified with standard Windows file operations or even exported as a CSV document!
Cover Image Credits: Everything