Search smarter with Spotlight
Find things more easily on your Mac and beyond using OS X’s search feature
Find what you need and find it fast with OS X’s updated Spotlight search engine
Spotlight has long made it easy to find things on your Mac, and, more recently, online. By OS X Yosemite, you could search for local documents, perform quick conversions and calculations, and locate nearby stores and eateries. In El Capitan, Spotlight has access to a number of new sources, enabling you to get the weather forecast for anywhere in the world, find out the latest sports scores, and check transit routes for the limited locations for which it’s provided by Apple Maps.
Spotlight has also gained some natural language smarts. The idea is you type a search query as a phrase – something like ‘email from Paul in April’ or ‘spreadsheet I worked on last week’ – and it returns relevant results. It doesn’t always work, but can be handy for getting at messages, emails and photos, using in-context terms.
It’s worth noting that Spotlight is navigable using the keyboard, not just the mouse. ç+[ Spacebar] opens it, of course, and you can use …æand to navigate the results list. For a selected item, ç+r, ç+I, and ç+b, reveal it in Finder, get its info (if the selected item is a file or folder), and search for what you’ve typed using Safari’s search engine, respectively. Pressing oe clears what you’ve typed. You can also hold ç to display the path to a selected document. All these shortcuts are great timesavers for the keyboard-centric! Craig Grannell
Spotlight has access to a number of new sources, including weather, sports scores and transit data
Spotlight looks much the same as before, but it has new tricks including natural language file searches.