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OS X Mavericks: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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The Spotlight Window

As you may have noticed, the Spotlight menu doesn’t list every match on your hard drive. Unless you own one of those extremely rare 60-inch Apple Skyscraper Displays, there just isn’t room.

Instead, Spotlight uses some fancy behind-the-scenes analysis to calculate and display the 20 most likely matches for what you typed. But at the top of the menu, you usually see that there are many other possible matches; it says, “Show All in Finder,” meaning that there are other candidates. (OS X no longer tells you how many other results there are.)

There is, however, a second, more powerful way into the Spotlight labyrinth. And that’s to use the Spotlight window, shown in Figure 3-3. It had an extreme makeover in Lion.

You can open the Spotlight window in either of two ways:

From Spotlight Menu

If the Spotlight menu—its Most Likely to Succeed list—doesn’t include what you’re looking for, then click Show All in Finder. You’ve just opened the Spotlight window.

Now you have access to the complete list of matches, neatly listed in what appears to be a standard Finder window.

From the Finder

When you’re in the Finder, you can also open the Spotlight window directly, without using the Spotlight menu as a trigger. Actually, there are three ways to get there:

  • -F (for Find, get it?). When you choose File→Find (⌘-F), you get an empty Spotlight window, ready to fill in for your search (Figure 3-3, top).

    Tip

    When the Find window opens, what folder does it intend to search?

    That’s up to you. ...

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