Are there any cool Spotlight shortcuts?
I'm on a kick about learning all the sneaky and secret shortcuts buried in Mac OS X and have heard that there are quite a few in the Leopard version of Spotlight, the utility that lets you find files on your Mac. Do you know some, and can you share?
Spotlight is a great example of a simple little utility in Mac OS X that has quite a bit more power than you realize. For most people, it's the magnifying glass on the very top right of your screen, and clicking on it produces this:
You can type in a pattern and find files, documents, images, Web pages, and just about anything else on your computer that matches the pattern. Type in ".doc", for example, and you'll get a list of all the MS Word files on your computer.
But what else can you do with Spotlight?
First off, you can launch it and be ready to type into it without having your hands stray from the keyboard and use the mouse or trackpad. Just type Command-Space (that is, hold down the "command" key and press the space bar).
To get started, here's something I use with great frequency: type in a mathematical equation:
I find that quite a bit more convenient -- and faster -- than using the Calculator application.
You can also get the definition of a word that might be otherwise befuddling:
If you click on the very abbreviated definition, Spotlight launches your Dictionary app and you'll get the full definition.
You can also search for multi-word patterns by surrounding the pattern with quotes. Try "Steve Jobs" and compare the results to Steve Jobs without the quotes.
You can also specify creation date, file type, author, date, composer, and more. Here are a few quick examples:
hawaii type:document -- searches for documents with the word hawaii within
kind:images created:5/15/08 -- Find all image files created on the specified date
lunch date:tomorrow -- Search for your lunch plans for the 'morrow
You can also specify boolean logic too, so if you want to have more than one clause, you can enter that right in the little Spotlight window.
For example, doc -alcoa would list all documents that didn't include the word "alcoa", while easter kind:message date:2/1/08-3/1/08 NOT date:2/15/08 would search for email messages sent or received in February, but not on the 15th, that contain the word "easter".
There are more tricks and features, but that'll do for now. If you have a favorite Spotlight shortcut, though, please tell us about it!
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