If you've been using macOS for a while, you're probably already used to Spotlight search, which makes it easy to find almost any file on your Mac's drive. In this article, we're going to cover some helpful tips to help you interact with searching for Spotlight.
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Table of Contents
How to call up a search in Spotlight on a Mac
You can search with Spotlight by pressing the Spotlight button in the macOS menu bar.
You can also access the Spotlight search box using hotkeys ⌘Cmd + Spacebar Some users set the combination of Control + Space bar.
The Spotlight key combination, if required, can be customized as follows “System Settings” → “Keyboard” → “Key Combinations” → “Spotlight”.
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How to set up a Spotlight search on a Mac
Before you can use Spotlight on macOS, you need to set it up. To do this, open "System preferences". and go to the tab Focus of attention.
The first thing to do is open the tab Privacy . Here you can set search exceptions by adding folders that will never be considered in Spotlight searches. To do this, simply drag the desired folders to this window and click on "+" to add.
On the tab. Search results you can select the file types to be displayed in the search results. Turn off file types that you probably won't be looking for. In the same window you can set the order in which the files are displayed in the search results. Put the files you deal with most often at the top of the list. For example, PDF, documents and folders.
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Refine Spotlight search query
Usually one or more words in a file name are enough to search Spotlight. But sometimes there will be quite a few results and it may not be possible to display all of them in the search box. In these cases, it is useful to refine the search query.
When searching for a certain phrase, you can highlight it in quotes. This will force Spotlight to forcefully search for that particular combination of words.
To search more precisely, you can also specify the type of file you want. For example, the documents.
You can further optimize the number of results by specifying, for example, the size of the image you are looking for.
For example, type:image height:500
In addition, Spotlight allows you to work with logical operators: "AND", "OR", "NOT".
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Spotlight, in addition to its direct purpose of finding files on your hard drive, can do a few other things, like perform math, convert different currencies and values:
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If you're not sure if the file that appears in the search results is the one you're looking for, you can use the quick preview. Just click on the file name and the preview will open on the right side of the window.
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Work with search results
Once you've found the file you want, you can open it simply by clicking on the list. However, any file in the search results can be dragged and dropped to the desktop, the Finder window, or a program window to work with that file.
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Spotlight shortcut keys
Spotlight also has room for some useful shortcuts. All of them are presented in a list below:
- ⌘Cmd + T – opening “top result”;
- ⌘Cmd + B – to search the internet;
- Escape – to clear the search field or to close the Spotlight window when the search field is empty;
- ⌘Cmd + ⌥Option (Alt) + Spacebar – to open a new Spotlight window in the Finder;
- Down arrow – goes to the next search result;
- Up arrow – Go to the previous search result;
- ⌘Cmd – hold to show the file path;
- Return (Enter) o ⌘Cmd + O – to open the file;
- ⌘Cmd + I – to open the properties of a file.