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OS X Mavericks: The Missing Manual 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 just after you’ve performed a search.

  • Use Spotlight itself. Hit ⌘-space bar, type spotl, and press Return.

  • Choose System Preferences. Click Spotlight.

In any case, you wind up face to face with the dialog box shown in Figure 3-9.

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

  • Turn off categories. The list of checkboxes identifies what 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—then turn off their checkboxes. Now the Spotlight menu’s 20 precious slots are 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 a list item up or down to change where it appears in the Spotlight menu.

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