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macOS Spotlight: How to get the most out of search results

Thursday December 16, 2021. 11:15 AM , from Macworld Reviews
Spotlight makes it easy to find anything on your Mac, including text inside of all common file formats. macOS offers Spotlight for direct searching in two distinct ways: via the Spotlight item in the menu bar or pressing Command-spacebar, and in the Finder in a Search field or pressing Command-Option-spacebar.

Both kinds of search will yield a similar set of results, but not identical ones. Both kinds of searches show you matching file and folder names, email messages and documents that include the search text, and other metadata matches.

The Great Gatsby appears across many forms of media, as a calendar entry for watching it in a theater years ago, and in a mailbox folder.

The menu bar Spotlight search mixes in any other categories you’ve left by default or enabled later. You might see movie times, description of novels, suggested Web sites, sports scores, weather, and other contextually appropriate stuff.

Spotlight search from the menu bar might give you a rundown on upcoming temperatures.

If you just want files, stick to the Finder Spotlight search. This one has the added benefit of letting you add search parameters (click the plus sign in the upper-right corner) and save the results as a smart folder you can open later to perform a live search against current results. (Tip: Select Search in Finder at the bottom of the menu bar Spotlight search results to launch the Finder-based search.)

In the Finder, Spotlight focuses on documents, folders, and other kinds of files, including applications.

A Spotlight search in the Finder also lets you scope results. In the “Search:” list at the upper-left of the window, you will see This Mac and often one or more items, like a recent folder name or the current folder name if you’re performing a search directly in the Finder.

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