Spotlight New Features

El Capitan adds several new features to Spotlight searches, including the ability to search for weather, sports information and stock prices. You can also search your own files using natural language such as 'documents I modified yesterday.' You can customize what shows up in Spotlight searches in System Preferences.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Spotlight New Features.

Hi, this is Gary with On this episode let's take a look at some of the new Spotlight features in El Capitan.

So let's start off by launching Spotlight which you can do by clicking the icon up here. I like to use the keyboard shortcut which is Command and Space and bring it up.

Now the first thing I want to show you that is new in El Capitan is the ability to get weather. If I just type the word weather actually it will come up with weather from my local area. It also shows me other things in case that is not what I wanted like if I wanted some files or suggested web sites. Things like that. I can customize this. You can see there it has kind of prompted me to customize it. I can say weather in and get a more accurate forecast by typing in the name of a city like that.

I can not only find a more accurate one but say if I'm traveling somewhere I can get the forecast for that. You can see it is kind of a nice forecast over here. It gives you hourly, it gives you the general forecast there, it gives you a ten day, and then a link to go to where probably this information comes from so you can get even more details.

You can also do the same for sports. So you can type in the name of a sports team and then something like if you just leave it like that it will show you the most recent score or you can type in schedule and you can get information like that. The schedule will even go further in advance.

Of course if you can do weather and you can do sports you can do stocks. It is as easy as just typing in a stock symbol, except that sometimes it's not because sometimes stock symbols look like file names or something that you might be searching for. So it is more useful to type in something like stock and then the stock symbol. The great thing is that it seems to work really well even if you don't know the stock symbol. Which is good because that happens a lot and a lot of services require you to enter the stock symbol. If you don't know it you have to do a look up of the stock symbol. It's nice to be able to do this.

You also do a search through your own files using natural language. For instance, you can do something like documents created this week. I find that it not only will give you documents created this week but will kind of do it in ever expanding amounts. So kind of like when you search the web. You might search for something and the first hit might be exactly what you want but the second, third, fourth, and going through many pages may give you other options. So it might go beyond this week but just be more documents. Maybe things that aren't documents but were created this week.

If I had more stuff in this test account it probably would just give me those specific items and less of ones that may or may not fit that criteria. You can do things like pdf's created this week. You can search emails, emails sent this week. All sorts of things like that. So basically the type of document in terms of created or updated or modified and then things like this week, today, yesterday, this year, etc. You can use terms like photos, for instance, and it won't search in the photos app but it will search for images that are stored in your user folder.

For a more Siri like experience you can bring up Spotlight and then use dictation which the default is hitting the fn key twice. So if you do that and then you can speak your query you'll automatically get a search performed. PDF's I viewed last week. Now how Spotlight searches can be determined by going to System Preferences and then go to Spotlight. Then there you can choose which items show up. So, for instance, if you are sick of seeing your huge selection of fonts show up in results you can turn that off. There is lots of other different things that you can turn on or off here that will or will not appear.

Also if there is something that you don't want it to search. Like, for instance, you may have a folder filled with tons of files from an old project you can add them to Privacy here. Just add any folder that you want and Spotlight will then stop searching that particular folder.

So you can really highly customize these things.

Comments: 5 Responses to “Spotlight New Features”

    4 years ago

    Hi Gary, another helpful video.. I updated to El Cap last night so this video is very timely. My search results are quite different. Ex: The “Stock Price Tesla” showed results that closely matched emails I received. The weather example only gave me the name of WeathrClp, an app I use. When I search “bears score”, again got a result that closely matched those words in an email I had received. The only things not checked in Spotlight preferences are: images, movies and fonts. any Ideas? thank you

      4 years ago

      How about the “Allow Spotlight Suggestions” at the very bottom (not in the list). Not sure why they aren’t showing up for you.

        4 years ago

        Thanks for the fast reply. I thought it might have to do with making sure location services is on in Privacy settings, but I already permitted that. It must have to do with the way it is input. I entered “mundelein weather” and got results from my local machine. But, I entered “weather in mundelein” and I got the result you had in the video. I guess natural language still needs a bit of work, lol. Thanks again, always enjoy your emails with the tiops.
    4 years ago

    When I hit fn twice the microphone doesn’t seem to come up. What i’m I doing wrong?

      4 years ago

      Did you check in System Preferences, Dictation and Speech? Maybe you have it turned off? Or maybe you have a different shortcut assigned.

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