Get bet­ter – and more – an­swers than ever be­fore from OS X’s built-in search en­gine

Mac Format - - 75 EL CAPITAN TIPS -

Ap­ple is de­ter­mined to make Spot­light the go-to place for find­ing any­thing us­ing your Mac. Not just files and fold­ers, but also on­line in­for­ma­tion, weather re­ports, your con­tacts and much more.

In re­cent years, Ap­ple has started to blend search re­sults from the in­ter­net with the ones from your Mac, adding a few new sources to make Spot­light more ef­fec­tive at an­swer­ing a range of ques­tions.

El Cap­i­tan gives you the abil­ity to find cer­tain things – files, fold­ers and email – by ex­press­ing your­self us­ing nat­u­ral lan­guage. Spot­light then in­ter­prets your mean­ing to give you more ac­cu­rate re­sults, such as files you worked on a week ago when you want to con­tinue a project.

One small but very wel­come im­prove­ment is that you can also move the Spot­light win­dow around. Once the win­dow is show­ing re­sults, you can re­size the win­dow’s height to show more re­sults – im­por­tant now that Spot­light can search many more sources, in­clud­ing var­i­ous on­line ser­vices.

Among them is weather – you only need to en­ter that word to get re­sults for your cur­rent lo­ca­tion, though you can eas­ily look up the fore­cast for other lo­ca­tions, too. Like Siri on iOS de­vices, Spot­light can look up team stand­ings and up­com­ing fix­tures when you en­ter the name of your favourite foot­ball team. It even looks up stock val­ues, though how use­ful you’ll find that de­pends on your opin­ion of the iPhone’s equiv­a­lent app

While Siri re­mains lamentably ab­sent from OS X, you can use your Mac’s En­hanced Dic­ta­tion fea­ture – and either a dou­ble-press of a key or, thanks to a re­turn­ing fea­ture from Yosemite, a spo­ken key phrase to trig­ger it – to open and con­trol Spot­light. Read on to find out how to do all of th­ese things…

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