Chapter 3. Spotlight

Every computer offers a way to find files. But Spotlight, a star feature of macOS, shows matches for your search beyond your Mac; it can fetch results from the web, from Apple’s app and music stores, from the Maps app, from movie theaters, and so on. It’s also the world’s most flexible calculator. It can not only do math, but it can also convert things: kilometers to miles, Celsius to Fahrenheit, euros to dollars, and so on. And it can pull down even more information from the internet, like sports scores, weather, stock quotes, and lists of Vimeo and YouTube videos.

Even better, it understands “natural language” searches. That is, you can type out plain-English queries that describe what you’re looking for, like “files I worked on in January,” “slides from 2019 containing WidgeTech,” or “images from last year.”


Spotlight also understands plain French, Italian, German, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish, if one of those is more your thing.

The Spotlight Menu

See the little inline in the right corner of your menu bar? That’s the mousey way to open the Spotlight search box. The other way is to press inline-space bar. If you can memorize only one keystroke on your Mac, that’s the one to learn. It works both at the desktop and when you’re in apps.

In any case, the Spotlight ...

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