I have problems running the bash code

mdfind -onlyin /some/folder my_string

This works on the terminal, but if I try

RunProcess[{"/usr/bin/mdfind", "-onlyin /some/folder", "my_string"}]

I get as an error

 Unknown option -onlyin /some/foder


RunProcess[{"/usr/bin/mdfind", "-onlyin", "/some/folder my_string"}]

gives as an error

/usr/bin/mdfind: no query specified

What is the correct way of handling this?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ All the elements must be in separate items, this works for me : RunProcess[{"mdfind", "-onlyin", "/some/folder", "my_string"}] or RunProcess[{"mdfind", "-onlyin", "/some/folder", "my_string"}, "StandardOutput"] if you only need the standard output of the command, here the filenames. $\endgroup$
    – SquareOne
    Dec 15, 2014 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ Works for me thanks. You should expand it to an answer $\endgroup$
    – mete
    Dec 15, 2014 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


I actually found 3 ways to execute your command with RunProcess (on Unix like systems) :

Let's write your command as a string :

mycommand = "mdfind -onlyin /some/folder my_string";

but it could be any other command like :

mycommand = "ls -la";

Then these 3 inputs are equivalent :


RunProcess[{$SystemShell, "-c", mycommand}]

RunProcess[$SystemShell, All, mycommand <> "\nexit\n"]

In case you are just interested in the output not in the exit code nor error message, you just have to add/specify "StandardOutput" :

RunProcess[StringSplit@mycommand, "StandardOutput"]

RunProcess[{$SystemShell, "-c", mycommand}, "StandardOutput"]

RunProcess[$SystemShell, "StandardOutput", mycommand <> "\nexit\n"]

See also this and that posts for other useful approaches.


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