In 2005, Spotlight was introduced as a revamped way of searching files and folders on the Mac. Cut to 2023, the features have expanded, and the app is capable of doing much more than searching for files or folders. Unfortunately, the chances are that you are yet to explore all the things that Spotlight can or you can do with Spotlight.
Besides being the fastest way to make a search on a Mac, Spotlight lets you convert units, perform calculations, find items using natural language search, etc.
This guide spills some Spotlight secrets you wish you had known before.
Quickly Perform Simple Calculations
Performing calculations on a Mac becomes extremely fuss-free with Spotlight Search. All you need to do is type the equations you wish to solve in Spotlight, and the results will be on your screen. There’s no need to open the calculator application.
However, please note that Spotlight only performs basic calculations.
Filter The Search Results In Spotlight
Spotlight Search is designed to help users find items across different categories like bookmarks, applications, music, folders, contacts, etc. If you wish to declutter and speed up the results, you can disable Spotlight Search results for specific categories.
To filter the search results, go to System Preferences > Spotlight > uncheck the box next to the categories in the Search Results tab for which you don’t want to see the results.
Search Apps Using Initials
How do you typically search for something on your Mac? First, you probably enter the full name of the app or file you want to search. Right?
But did you know that Spotlight can find and match what you’re looking for with just initials? You can enter the initials of an app, and Spotlight will do the rest. So, for instance, if you want to search for Sublime Text, you can simply enter Sublime or ST.
Perform Searches Using Natural Language
Computing has become human-like in recent years, and one of the biggest examples of this is Spotlight Search. This tool understands natural-language searches. So, for instance, you can search for things like emails from Drew or presentations from last month.
Spotlight will show you the appropriate results.
Perform Unit Conversions
Unit conversions are another helpful functionality that you get with Spotlight Search. You can use it by entering a value-unit pair you wish to convert with the unit in which you want the result. For instance, if you wish to convert 10 miles to km, you must enter 10 miles to km.
In addition to converting units, Spotlight is also capable of converting currencies. However, the exchange rate may not be real-time.
Track The Live Status Of Flights
You can use Spotlight Search to search for live flight status, which means you can avoid having to install flight-tracking applications or open websites.
You can view a flight’s live status by entering the flight number. Spotlight will show you its live status.
Find The Definition Of Difficult Words
There’s Google Search and various dictionary apps to help you get the definition of difficult words. But if you want to save time, you can use Spotlight.
Simply launch Spotlight and type define + the word. You will get the definition of the word.
Search Only Specific Types Of Files
If you want to look for specific types of files on your Mac, you can use Spotlight Search. The search parameters can be modified to enhance your chances of finding the file you want.
For this, type the file name and pension the file type. For instance, if you are looking for PDF files, you must enter the name of the file + PDF (XXX: PDF), and Spotlight will show you the results.
Calculate The Exchange Rate
Spotlight lets you calculate the exchange rate without having to leave the app. All you need to do is enter the currency value you want to convert and use currency symbols or abbreviations. For instance, 100USD or $100. Then, let Spotlight convert it to other major currencies so you can compare the exchange rate.
Listen To Music
Want to listen to music? Even for this, you don’t have to leave the Spotlight app. Instead, you can search for the online video you wish to watch on Spotlight search by mentioning the song title or album. When you get the results, you can click on it and listen to the song on iTunes.
The Bottom Line
These are some Spotlight secrets that you wish you’d known before. Memorizing these will enhance your user experience and help you make the most of Spotlight Search. With time, this app will become indispensable to your regular workflow, and you’ll be much more productive. Thanks to this app, all the critical tasks will be at your fingertips.
Share your experience of using Spotlight Search. Mention a few different ways you use this app.