Mac Tips: Clever Use Of Spotlight

How do I use Spotlight on my Mac? Use it to find apps, files, definitions, and more!

Ever since I switch to MAC, Spotlight is my favorite feature. It’s a ‘desktop search’ feature for Mac OS X which lets you search for ‘stuff’ on your computer. But unlike ‘Window’s search’, the spotlight is dashing fast.

The spotlight has become better, with a new Yosemite update. As it now, appears in the middle of the screen and shows search results from the internet (via Bing), App Store and iTunes.

Clever Use Of Spotlight

Spotlight Basis:

The traditional way of using spotlight involves these four steps –

1. Open Spotlight by either clicking on the search icon, on the upper right corner of your menu bar or press Cmd+SpaceBar (toggle keyboard shortcut)

2. Type in your search queries, like a file name or app, installs in your computer

3. Use up/down arrow key to move through the search result 

4. Hit ‘enter’ key to open the selected search result.

Now while reading this, it may look like a bit of work to use spotlight. But once you get hold of it, you are never going back. For instance, let say you want to open the browser, then all you have to do is, press cmd+space and type in ‘safari’ and press enter. It’s much quicker, then using a mouse.

I sure most of you, are already familiar with the spotlight basis. Right! But there are more advance tips & tricks for using a spotlight. Like what? Well, let’s find out.

Some Clever Uses Of Spotlight

Convert Currency

Quickly Search For Meaning

Convert Temperature On The Go

Spotlight As Calculator

Clever Use Of Spotlight

Search Files By Extension

Clever Use Of Spotlight

Copy From The Spotlight

Drag and drop the search result from the spotlight to the desktop (or any place you want) to create a copy.

Clever Use Of Spotlight

Get More Info:  

Although the spotlight shows useful information along the right side of the file if you want to get more details, on the search item press cmd+i. 

Perform Intensive Search:

If your press cmd+space+option then you will see finder windows where you can modify your search with queries like file type, author, type of file, size, etc. There is also an option to save a search if you use it more often.

Clever Use Of Spotlight

Open File In Finder: 

Traditionally when we press enter on the search results in the spotlight, it opens out the file, But let say, you want to see this file opening up in finder. For this simply press cmd+enter.

Clever Use Of Spotlight

Find The File Path:

Also if you hold the cmd key, you can see the file path at the bottom of the preview pane. Cmd+alt, while in quick look to see the path of the file

Jump Between Categories:

Use cmd + up/down arrow keys to navigate within categories

Stop Sending Search Data To Apple:

Your search queries are sent to the apple server to serve you better in the future. Although Apple confirms that they don’t log the IP address, however many people consider this invasion to privacy.

So to disable this feature go to Spotlight preference > Search Results.> Now scroll down and uncheck Spotlight Suggestions, Bookmarks & History, and Bing Web Searches.

Clever Use Of Spotlight | Stop Sending Search Data To Apple:

Search Within The Program’s Menu: 

I am not sure if this is a spotlight feature, but it’s the best ‘search technique’ I have found.  

While using final cut pro the first time, I have no idea how to speed up a video clip. But the spotlight helped me to discover it from the menu. All I have to do is, go to help> search> and type in my query. You can use this trick in any program. Very helpful yet elegant. 

Clever Use Of Spotlight

Conclusion | Clever Use Of Spotlight

The spotlight is awesome, and everyone should use it. In this article, we have some tips & tricks that will help you to become a ‘Spotlight power user’. If you have some other clever use of spotlight, that I have missed then let me via comments.

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Geeknous Staff

Geeknous Staff

The resident bot. If you email me, a human will respond.

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