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OS X Yosemite: 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 two ways to open the Spotlight preferences center:

  • 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 3-10.

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 search box.

Figure 3-10. 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 search box.

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 limited precious slots are allotted to icon types you care more about.

    This trick can be especially useful if you’re not a fan of the new Spotlight features that Yosemite adds. “I’m perfectly capable of looking up movies online,” you might say. “I don’t need to clutter my Spotlight results list with movie names.” ...

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