Searching with Spotlight Search

In this lesson for in macOS Mojave for the Mac, I look at how to search the Mac using Spotlight. In addition to finding your files, folders, and applications, you can also use Spotlight to open your files, folders, and application.

Accessing Spotlight
There are a couple ways to open Spotlight. You can click on the magnifying glass on the right side of your Menu Bar, or you can use the keyboard shortcut – which is my favorite or preferred way of opening Spotlight for a search. The keyboard shortcut is command-space, press the command key and the space bar. When you do this or click on the magnifying glass in the Menu Bar, you will see a field appear above your windows. Just start typing what you want to look for, and the results will show.

What does Spotlight Search?
Spotlight searches for your search term in the name of your document, folder, or application. It also searches the contents of files. So if you do not know the name of a file, but you know a term that is in the contents, you can type that term and Spotlight will return in the results any documents that have that term in the document itself.

Opening a Spotlight Result
To open one of the result Spotlight returns with, just double-click on it. You can also hit the return key once the result is selected.

Seeing and Opening what Folder a Result is Located In
To see where a file is located on your Mac, just select the result while holding down the command key. You will see the result below the preview on the left of the Spotlight window.

If you want to open the folder and not the document, you can double click on the result while holding down the command key.

Hiding Specific File Types from Spotlight Results
You can hide different types of files from showing in the results, such as applications, contacts, images, or movies. To set which result types you want to hide, open System Preferences and click on the Spotlight Preference Pane. Make sure you are looking at the Search Results tab. You will see all the different result types in a list. Just deselect the result type(s) that you do not want to show in your search results.

Setting Spotlight Results Priority
You can also set which result type shows first in your results. Again, open your System Preferences and select the Search Results tab. Now just drag the types up and down in the order you’d like the results to be shown in.

Hiding Folders and External Drives from being Searched
To hide the contents of a folder or external hard drive from the result of your search, open System Preferences and select Spotlight. From their select the Privacy tab. Now just drag the folders and external drives you want to hide from your results into the window. You can also click on the ‘+’ at the bottom of the window to select a folder or hard drive. To remove a folder ot external drive from the list, select it in the list and then click on the ‘-‘ at the bottom of the list.

See this Lesson Action
To see this lesson in action, take a look at the video above.

Back to: Tutor for macOS Mojave > Working with Documents and Folders