How to Efficiently Use the Spotlight

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Apple devices may have a seemingly minimalist interface, but there’s definitely nothing minimal when it comes to its capabilities. Your Mac, for one, has various built-in apps that do more than their obvious and primary functions. For instance, you might already be aware that you can use Spotlight search for stuff stored on your Mac, including documents and apps. But, did you know what else you can find through it? In this article, we’ll take a look at the different tasks that you can accomplish using the Mac Spotlight app.

Launching Spotlight

Of course, before you could use Spotlight, you must know how to open it. There are two ways to do that:

  1. Click the magnifying glass icon in the upper right-hand corner of your Mac’s menu bar.
  2. Press Command + Spacebar.

You are now ready to make the most of Spotlight.

Searching in Spotlight

You can search for practically anything on Spotlight. You can search for an app, such as Apple Store. You can also be more specific. For instance, search for “emails from John Smith”.

To open a search result item, simply double-click on them. You may also take a peek at each result. Use the Up and Down arrow keys and as you go through each item, a preview will be shown at the right.

Searching by File Type and Identifying Location

If you are looking for a file of a certain type but can’t remember the exact file name or need to look at multiple items, you can search for the file type directly. Type the word kind: and then the file type. For example, “kind:video” or “kind:folders”.

Meanwhile, if you need to know where a certain file is stored or located, select the file from the results list, then press and hold Command. You will see the file’s location at the preview’s bottom. To open the location, press Command + R.

Showing Results in Finder

If you need to show Spotlight results in Finder, scroll to the bottom of the results list then simply double-click on Show all in Finder.

The Spotlight as a Quick Dictionary, Calculator, and Converter

Aside from files, you can also search for definitions, calculations, and measurement conversions through Spotlight.

  1. To get a definitionType in a word or phrase, click the result under the Definition section.
  2. To get a calculationType in the problem (e.g. 823+78) in the search field.
  3. To get a measurement conversionType in the conversion you need. For example, “28 lbs to kg”.

More Spotlight Surprises

You can also use Spotlight to search for other information, including movie schedules and weather information, among others.

  1. Get movie showtimes Enter the name of the movie you wish to see to know where and when it is showing. To know what movies are playing near or around you, enter show times.
  2. Get weather informationTo know the weather forecast in your area, simply enter weather.
  3. Get place recommendations To search for restaurants near your location, type in places to eat or restaurants. You may also try searching for specific cuisines, such as Chinese food restaurant. Then, click a result in the Maps section to get more info.
  4. Get flight statusAnother cool Mac Spotlight feature is its ability to provide the status of a current or upcoming flight. Simply enter the airline and flight number (e.g. United 748). If you get multiple search results, simply click on each item. The information for that flight will be shown in the right-hand section.

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