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Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mavericks Edition by David Pogue

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The Spotlight Menu

Every computer offers a way to find files. And every system offers several different ways to open them. But Spotlight, a star feature of OS X, combines these two functions in a fast, efficient way.

See the little magnifying-glass icon () in your menu bar? That’s the mouse-driven way to open the Spotlight search box.

The other way is to press ⌘-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 in other programs.

In any case, the Spotlight text box appears just below your menu bar (Figure 3-13).

Begin typing to identify what you want to find and open. For example, if you’re trying to find a file called Pokémon Fantasy League.doc, typing just pok or leag would probably suffice. (The search box doesn’t find text in the middles of words, though; it searches from the beginnings of words.)

A menu immediately appears below the search box, listing everything Spotlight can find containing what you’ve typed so far. (This is a live, interactive search; that is, Spotlight modifies the menu of search results as you type.) The menu lists every file, folder, program, email message, Contacts entry, calendar appointment, picture, movie, PDF document, music file, Web bookmark, Microsoft Office document (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Entourage), System Preferences panel, To Do item, chat transcript, Web site in your History ...

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