Screen Sieve 1.2.2

Fade... Type... Locate!

Screen Sieve is a nifty tool for Mac OS X that lets you search the contents of the currently active window at any time. It highlights all occurrences of characters, words and phrases as you type, without requiring modifications to applications. Putting Mac OS X' built-in support for Accessibility to good use, Screen Sieve works with any application that supports the Accessibility APIs. Applications that do include Mail, Safari, Xcode, the Finder and iTunes, as well as most other applications written in Cocoa and to some extent Carbon.

What makes Screen Sieve different from the normal Find command?

There are three things that separates the way Screen Sieve lets you search for information from the way the Find command usually works:

  • Screen Sieve highlights all the matches that are visible in a window, while Find usually just highlights a single match.
  • Screen Sieve searches in the entire window, rather than only the areas containing text. That means that in addition to highlighting text, Screen Sieve may highlight objects like images, files, icons, buttons, and so on, as well.
  • Screen Sieve doesn't force you to change context. When you invoke the Find command, your window frequently ends up scrolling up or down. This makes you lose track of where you are. Screen Sieve simply highlights the visible matches, and ignores the rest until you decide to scroll further up or down.

Download, Requirements and License

Screen Sieve requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is a Universal binary, so it runs natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. In order to use it, you must enable Mac OS X' Accessibility APIs. This is very easy to do: Simply toggle the appropriate checkbox in the Universal Access preferences pane in System Preferences. You can download Screen Sieve from the link below, or by clicking the Download button above; once downloaded, simply drag Screen Sieve to your Applications folder (or any other location), and run it.

Screen Sieve 1.2.2 (compressed disk image, 228 KB)

Screen Sieve is donationware, which means that it is basically free. However, for those who can afford it, I would greatly appreciate receiving a donation. Donations can be made

Make a donation



Version 1.2.2:

  • Fixes version checks and updates code signature to work with OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 and Yosemite.

Version 1.2.1:

  • Adds support for searching in windows under the cursor, not just the currently focused window.

Version 1.2.0:

  • Screen Sieve is now compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

Version 1.1.0:

  • Screen Sieve can scroll! No more switching in and out of Screen Sieve to scroll in the window you are searching.
  • Multiple monitor support is here at last!
  • Screen Sieve now shows the total number of hits for a given search, as well as the number of hits above and below the visible search area.
  • French and Japanese localizations, courtesy of Ronald Leroux and Yukirou Murai, respectively.

Version 1.0.1:

  • Fixed a major memory leak.
  • Fixed a crashing issue when querying Finder windows in List view on Intel-based Macs.


"This is dynamite!! Absolutely genius."
- Henrikteknik's review on MacUpdate

"A wonderfully clever and useful utility!"
- Foto555's review on MacUpdate

"A small handy, simple and effective searching tool which is always there."
- Compass' review on MacUpdate


If you have any questions regarding Screen Sieve, need to report a bug or just want to make a feature request, all you need to do is send an e-mail here: Please include Screen Sieve in the subject so that your e-mail isn't accidentally classified as spam.