Monday, June 20, 2011

Mac Daddy Monday: Spotlight Basics

Spotlight is an awesome way to search for files on your Mac when you've forgotten where you put them.  It also does some nifty other things too!

All you have to do is click on the magnifying glass on the top right of your screen and type in file name you are looking for.  But that's not all the spotlight does!  It can be used as an application launcher, just type the name of the application you want then enter and hit enter to open it.  You can also look up definitions of words in the spotlight as you can see in the above picture it's giving me the definition for finale as well as the application Finale.  

Spotlight even works as a calculator to do simple quick calculations.  Just use: "+" for addition, "-" for subtraction, "*" for multiplication, and "/" for division.  You can use pi for π if you happen to be looking for the area of a circle, or if you need a square root type "sqrt" then the number in parentheses like "sqrt(16)."

Here are some shortcuts to make searching with Spotlight even quicker.
Display the Spotlight Menu:  Command-Space
Go to the next item:  Down Arrow
Go to the first item in the next category:  Command-Down Arrow
Go to the previous item:  Up Arrow
Go to first item in the previous category:  Command-Up Arrow
View the location of a file:  Hover your cursor over the file name
Reveal a file's location in the Finder:  Command-return, or hold command while clicking the file name.

Also be sure to check out the Spotlight preferences window, which can be found at the bottom Spotlight menu.  Here you can change which types of files Spotlight searches through, and the key commands to open spotlight.

Check back soon for a post on "Advanced Searches in Spotlight" to make finding the file you want even easier.

by LC Tech Blog contributor Kat Taub


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