Spotlight. Effectively Search The Content Of Your Computer

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1 Spotlight Effectively Search The Content Of Your Computer OSX has a search feature called Spotlight which allows users to search their computer s hard drive quickly. Spotlight finds just about anything you have on your computer - files, folders, applications, photos, , and even text within documents. Spotlight starts finding files as soon as you start typing the file name in the Spotlight search box, displaying a drop down menu with names of files, folders, s, etc. that contain the search criteria you typed. Spotlight will also display files that contain the search name or phrase you entered, allowing you to search inside documents, s, and more. Spotlight is part of Apple s operating system and works with it. As you update or change files, Spotlight immediately recognizes the changes. Spotlight helps you find things especially when you can t remember where you ve saved them. Example: If you type the word address into the Spotlight search box, a drop down menu appears showing all the places you will find files, documents, or applications related to the word address. The drop down menu also gives you a list of places where you will find the term address on your hard drive - documents, webpages, images, contacts, pdf files, bookmarks, and more. The results indicate where address is either part of a title or part of the content within a file or application. Using Spotlight: You can access and use Spotlight any time you are using your computer. There is no need to close documents you are working on or windows that are open in order to access the Spotlight search box. Spotlight is accessed through the Finder Menu bar. To use Spotlight, click on the magnifying glass icon in the top, right of the menu bar. That will open the Spotlight search box. Enter the word or phrase you wish to search for. Spotlight immediately starts filling in the search term, trying to match your search criteria Spotlight s drop down menu appears with results grouped by category Categories are listed on the left side of the drop down menu OSX, Leopard 10.5.X, Spotlight Features Page 1 of 7 Copyright 2010 Carol LaRow

2 In the picture to the right, six categories are visible: definition, documents, PDF Documents, Webpages, Messages, and Presentations. Results will vary. This helps you find files quickly by sorting them for you and allowing you to look within categories The list contains top hits, identified by Spotlight Click on the title of a file or folder to open it directly from within the drop down menu The term Show All is at the top of the drop down menu Click on Show All to see a new window with more results listed Spotlight shows you all the items it has located that have your search terms The window looks similar to the one below labeled, Searching This Mac Items are listed in alphabetical order if the Name column is selected The bottom of the window lists the number of items Spotlight has found You can also search by other criteria such as last opened or kind by clicking on the column headings Tip: Click the column headings again to reverse order items; example: click the last opened column to see the latest dates; click again to see earlier dates Double click on an item to open it Or, right click on the item to get a drop down menu; choose Open Enclosing Folder to go to the folder where the item is saved or stored on the hard drive OSX, Leopard 10.5.X, Spotlight Features Page 2 of 7 Copyright 2010 Carol LaRow

3 You can refine your search results from within this window. Notice the title bar at the top with the words: Search, This Mac, clarow, Contents, and File Name Clicking on these headings limits the search. For example, you can choose to search for names of files and omit searching the contents; Spotlight will display titles of files and folders In the example below, the search is limited to the user name and file names Use Apple s carousel feature to preview contents of a file without opening it This saves time. You can see the contents of a document, in miniature form, which can help determine if it is the one you are looking for before you open it OSX, Leopard 10.5.X, Spotlight Features Page 3 of 7 Copyright 2010 Carol LaRow

4 Or, click on the quick look button to take a closer look at the file The file, still in preview format, will open in a larger size than the carousel view above You can read text and see pictures, which helps when you have similar versions of files and need to choose a particular one Clicking on the two arrows at the bottom of the window allows you to see the file full screen Close the file by clicking on the X in the top left of the open window Icon View: You can switch views in the Search Results Window The examples above are in List View Click to Icon View to see icons of folders and files You can zoom the icons and make them easier to read Use the slider in the right, bottom corner of the window OSX, Leopard 10.5.X, Spotlight Features Page 4 of 7 Copyright 2010 Carol LaRow

5 Seeing Where Files Are Located: You can determine where files are located on your hard drive. In the Searching This Mac window, click on the title of a file The path appears in the bottom of the window Quick Search Tip: Use the Spotlight window to narrow a search by using an operator You can find a file by searching for its type Example: Find all jpg images on your hard drive with the word Colonial in the title Type the following: kind:jpg Colonial (no space between kind and file type The results will look similar to the picture on the right Sample keywords to use: application contacts folders movies images music Definitions: You can use the Spotlight search window to get definitions of words In every search window, a Definition category is listed when you type a term in the search box Clicking on the Definition opens another window, accessing the OSX dictionary which comes installed on your computer OSX, Leopard 10.5.X, Spotlight Features Page 5 of 7 Copyright 2010 Carol LaRow

6 Notice there are more choices within this window: dictionary, Thesaurus, Apple, and Wikipedia Click on All to see all the choices In the picture to the right, two results are shown: Dictionary and Wikipedia The Wikipedia choice takes you to the Web for Wikipedia definitions Click on the other choices to see what they offer Or, you can see a shortened definition right in the Spotlight search window Hover the mouse over the Definition category A yellow drop down menu appears with definitions of your search term This allows you to get a quick definition without clicking open another window If the drop down menu does not appear, hover over the Definition and hold the Command Key Refining Searches Within the Searching This Mac Window: Once you find results in the Searching This Mac Window, you can further refine your search Click the + sign in the top, right corner of the search window You can make choices such as kind, contents, last opened, opened before, opened after, and more Use the drop down menus to make choices Click the + sign again to display more choices You can save search results to use again at a later time Use this feature for searches you need to do again OSX, Leopard 10.5.X, Spotlight Features Page 6 of 7 Copyright 2010 Carol LaRow

7 Click the SAVE button in the top right corner of the window A window appears, and you can give the search a specific name The OS saves your smart search in a folder entitled, Saved Searches, which is located in your Library folder Other Tips: 1. You can quickly open the Spotlight search window without clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the Finder. This allows you to open the search window while working on a document or file. Hold the Command Key and the Spacebar at the same time 2. Use a key command to open Spotlight s top hit. Hold the Command Key and hit Return at the same time 3. By default, Spotlight searches the entire computer. You can set Spotlight preferences to limit Spotlight s search to specific categories 4. If you close the Spotlight search window the results of your last search will be there if you click it open again. Spotlight keeps the last search results. 5. In the Spotlight search window, you can see the path of a file by hovering the mouse over the file name. A yellow drop down menu appears showing you where the file is located. Notes: OSX, Leopard 10.5.X, Spotlight Features Page 7 of 7 Copyright 2010 Carol LaRow

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