Tips and Tricks For Using Mac Spotlight

Spotlight is a tool that most people just use to perform simple file searches. But you can do so much more such with it. Even file searching can be done more efficiently using a variety of tips and tricks.

Comments: 11 Responses to “Tips and Tricks For Using Mac Spotlight”

    4 years ago

    WOW...did not know most of those features. And have now reduced my right side Dock down to four items. Finder - Documents - Downloads - Trash. Now have a real clear and clean Desktop with only my custom background picture. Does Microsoft computers have a similar Spotlight type feature? Thank you for the hints - might not use all but definitely use some new ones that you showed.

    4 years ago

    Gary, fantastic tutorial, one of your best and most useful. I searched the internet to try to find a cheatsheet or listing of all the commands / functionality but was unsuccessful (i.e. most links provided a very brief listing, including's Apple's site). Wondering whether you have such a listing or know where one can be found? Thanks, once again!

    4 years ago

    Joel: I think something like that would be difficult because what is possible depends on your System Preferences, settings in individual apps and parts of macOS.

    Scott Simmerman
    4 years ago

    A Mac user starting back in the old days with a Mac Plus and remembering the excitement when I got a second disk reader and THEN, an external 20 MEG HD, you finally show me how to use Spotlight. Amazing. Thanks.

    4 years ago

    Scott: One reason not to do it that way is that counting (and averages, etc) for an entire column would be thrown off by that row that is different than the rest. Also, when you double-click a column heading to select all of the cells in that column, you'll get that extra row too, which could lead to errors when you paste. Using a separate table for that special value has a lot of advantages.

    4 years ago

    Excellent tutorial! Thank you so much.

    4 years ago

    Open Spotlight and type in "Mail Downloads" with out the quotes, double click on the folder and you will find all the pictures and jokes that have added up (jpeg, pdf, png ets. Drag them to the trash.

    4 years ago

    Amazing. I didn't know that so much could be done by Spotlight. Thank you very much.

    Braden Minaker
    4 years ago

    Interestingly I found that when I try to use "define guitar" it doesn't show up with a dictionary entry. For some reason that one didn't work for me. I'm updated to the latest. I use spotlight to define things all the time, so I would love for that to work. Any idea why that didn't work for me? Anybody else get that to work or have similar issue to mine?

    4 years ago

    Braden: Not sure why that particular word doesn't work.

    Marta Brochado
    3 years ago

    Great Tutorial! any suggestions to solve this issue, I can't enable searching inside Google Drive using Spotlight

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