Take Control of Spotlight for Finding Anything on Your Mac
Publisher: TidBITS Publishing, Inc.
Released: September 2011
Pages: 158

Join Sharon Zardetto as she explores the hidden depths of Spotlight searching, one of Mac OS X's most powerful yet least explained features. No matter how carefully you organize files and folders on your Mac, it's easy to lose important items. With Sharon's help, you can aim Apple's Spotlight quickly and precisely, and stop rummaging around in the darkness of your hard disk.

After Sharon explains how Spotlight indexes your data and the "grammar" behind Spotlight searches, you'll discover the many ways you can start Spotlight searches: the magnifying glass in the menu bar, the search field in Finder windows or the Open and Save dialogs, a keyboard shortcut, a contextual menu, or the customized and saved searches you've made for yourself.

Then it's on to learning how to find exactly what you're looking for using keyword searches, multiple-criteria searches, Boolean searches, and more. And here's where you'll learn the most valuable lesson about Spotlight, which Apple has never shared, which is how to search directly using Spotlight's internal search language, making even complex searches quick and easy.

You'll learn these search-related techniques:

  • Improve search accuracy by limiting Spotlight to searching just where you want.
  • Reduce result clutter by choosing which categories should appear in the Spotlight menu.
  • Learn what to do when the Spotlight menu doesn't list an item that it should be able to find.
  • Use criteria bars (and even the elusive Boolean bars!) to create complex search queries.
  • Bypass criteria bars by typing complex, powerful queries in any Spotlight search field.
  • Build Boolean searches with AND, OR, and NOT to narrow your search results precisely.

In addition, you'll find out how to make your files even easier to find with these techniques:

  • Customize a file's metadata.
  • Employ free third-party utilities to give your files useful, searchable tags.
  • Set up sophisticated smart folders that provide dynamic file organization.

In these days of terabyte drives, your Mac has enormous storage capacity, and you may have many thousands of files squirreled away (we don't even want to admit to how many hundreds of thousands of files are filling up our disks!). But with the Spotlight expertise you'll gain from this ebook, you'll be able to retrieve anything on your Mac, no matter how deeply it's buried or how specific you need to make your search (how about every GarageBand song in the key of E-flat, or every graphic that's smaller than 500 by 500 pixels?).

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