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Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition by David Pogue

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Customizing Spotlight

You've just read about how Spotlight works fresh out of the box. But you can tailor its behavior, both for security reasons and to fit it to the kinds of work you do.

Here are three ways to open the Spotlight preferences center:

  • Choose "Spotlight preferences" at the bottom of the Spotlight menu (that is, just after you've performed a search).

  • Use Spotlight itself. Hit ⌘-Space, type spotl, press ⌘-Enter.

  • Open System Preferences. Click Spotlight.

In any case, you wind up face-to-face with the dialog box shown in Figure 3-5.

You can tweak Spotlight in three ways here, all very useful.

Here's where you can specify what categories of icons you want Spotlight to search, which order you want them listed in the Spotlight menu, and what keystroke you want to use for highlighting the Spotlight bar.

Figure 3-5. Here's where you can specify what categories of icons you want Spotlight to search, which order you want them listed in the Spotlight menu, and what keystroke you want to use for highlighting the Spotlight bar.

  • Turn off categories. The list of checkboxes identifies all the kinds of things that Spotlight tracks. If you find that Spotlight uses up valuable menu space listing, say, Web bookmarks or fonts—stuff you don't need to find very often—turn off their checkboxes. Now the Spotlight menu's precious 20 slots will be allotted to icon types you care more about.

  • Prioritize the categories. This dialog box also lets you change the order of the category results; just drag an individual list item up or down to change where it appears in the Spotlight menu.

    The factory setting is for Applications ...

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