Spotlight is not indexing all of a large file

Steve McMillen

I have a 2 GB XML file. I'd like to be able to use spotlight to quickly find if a string exists in the file by searching in that dir for the string. The file is so large that typical search tools take too long.

Search (for a string) into the file seems to work fine up to a certain point i the file but after that point, strings that I use spotlight to search for (that definitely exist in the file) are not returned by spotlight.

What I've found is that spotlight seems to be indexing only the first portion of large files. I have a full xml file followed by a number of incremental files. When I search for one of the IDs in the incremental file near the front of the full xml file spotlight gets a hit on the full and incremental files. But if the string I'm searching for is past certain point in the full xml file spotlight no longer finds the string that definitely exists within the full xml file. It only returns the incremental xml file hit. But if I search using grep, i do get a hit (after waiting a while).

I've googled like a madman on if spotlight imposes some limit on source files and if there is a way to raise that limit. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks, Steve


I've not heard of a file size limit, like you are experiencing.
Have you tried other search specialist apps, like Easyfind?

I also sometimes see mention of HoudahSpot, although that uses the same Spotlight database, so would likely have the same limitations.
However, it might be worth the try to see if (somehow) the standard interface does not do what you want, but Houdahspot does, with the same database. I don't know if that really can happen...