Searching for Items
Apple introduced Spotlight in Mac OS X Tiger and instantly changed the way Mac users look for items on their computers. Spotlight finds things on your Mac much faster than you could if you were poking around every file and folder. In fact, it’s the quickest way I’ve ever seen to find things on a computer.
When you first log in to your Mac, OS X creates an index of every file and folder it contains. Mountain Lion knows everything there is to know about every single thing that occupies your Mac, whether the item is visible or not. Mountain Lion stores this information, or metadata, and Spotlight uses the information, along with filenames and content, to find what you are looking for. Every time you add or remove an item, or add or remove something within that item (like text within a document), Mountain Lion updates its index files, thereby keeping all your searches up-to-the-minute accurate.
You might think that with all this information to look through a search could take forever, but that’s not the case at all. Spotlight can find items containing your search words almost as quickly as you can type them.
Searching with Spotlight
Chances are good that no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen the file you’re looking for, Spotlight can dig it up for you. Let’s see how to use this amazing feature:
1. Click the Spotlight icon (the magnifying glass) in the upper-right corner of the Mac window to reveal the Search text field, as shown in Figure 1.11.