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Get Dictionary Definitions From Anywhere in Mac OS X with Spotlight

May 14, 2012 - 5 Comments
Instant dictionary from Spotlight in Mac OS X

While you can immediately access a dictionary definition by three-finger tapping on a single word in Mac OS X or double-tapping in iOS, the Mac also provides another instant dictionary option: Spotlight.

Preview & Watch Videos Directly in Spotlight for Mac

Apr 13, 2012 - Leave a Comment
Watch or Preview Video and Movies in Spotlight

Modern versions of Mac OS X allow videos and movie files to be previewed and played directly in the Spotlight search results menu. This works with any supported movie or video file type that can be played in QuickTime. To try this out for yourself:

Drag & Drop from Spotlight in Mac OS X to Move & Open Files

Apr 6, 2012 - 7 Comments
Drag and drop from Spotlight

You can drag and drop files directly from Spotlight to elsewhere in the Mac OS X Finder. This allows Spotlight search to function as a sort of basic file manager, not quite like the Finder, but at least for quickly locating and moving a document of any type on the Mac to another location, or … Read More

13 Must-Know Spotlight Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac

Mar 9, 2012 - 18 Comments
Spotlight icon

Spotlight is the powerful built-in search engine on Mac. Not only will it find just about any file or folder buried on your file system or attached drives, but it also doubles as a fantastically quick application launcher, dictionary lookup tool, and so much more. If you aren’t using Spotlight on a regular basis yet … Read More

Reindex Spotlight from the Command Line in Mac OS X

Feb 2, 2012 - 9 Comments

Spotlight is generally very good at keeping a valid index of a drives contents up to date, but if you’ve recently restored a drive or had to delete the Spotlight index for one reason or another, you may need to reindex the drive manually. This is easy from the Spotlight control panel, and can also … Read More

Stop Spotlight from Indexing Time Machine Backup Volumes & External Drives

Jan 24, 2012 - 11 Comments
Stop Spotlight from Indexing Time Machine Drives

The default behavior for Spotlight is to start indexing any drive as soon as it’s connected to a Mac, a task that can take a very long time with larger volumes. The problem is that for larger external backup drives and Time Machine volumes, you don’t necessarily want it indexed by Spotlight. This is particularly … Read More

Rebuild the Spotlight Index

Jan 17, 2012 - 38 Comments
Rebuild the Spotlight Index

Do you need to rebuild the entire Spotlight index on a Mac? It’s easy to do, but can take a while. This tutorial will show you how to start the reindexing process of an entire drive in Mac OS X, we’ll do this using the Spotlight control panel, and we’ll cover an alternative method as … Read More

How to Exclude Hard Drives and Folders from Spotlight Index in Mac OS X

Dec 30, 2011 - 13 Comments
Exclude drives and folders from Spotlight index

Spotlight is a wonderful feature of Mac OS X that lets you quickly find literally anything on a Mac by search, that includes files, apps, folders, emails, you name it, and Spotlight will find it, but sometimes you don’t want everything to be indexed. Whether that’s an external backup drive, a scratch disk, a directory … Read More

Hide the Spotlight Menu Icon in Mac OS X

Dec 12, 2011 - 26 Comments
Hide the Spotlight icon in OS X Lion

Whether you are disabling Spotlight or just wanting to reduce menubar icon clutter, it’s possible to hide the Spotlight icon. Here’s the best part though; if you just want to hide the Spotlight menu, you can do so without disabling the search abilities from functioning in the Finder or with other apps that rely on … Read More

How to Disable (or Enable) Spotlight in Mac OS X Mavericks & Mountain Lion

Dec 10, 2011 - 74 Comments
Enable Spotlight in OS X Lion

Completely disabling and reenabling Spotlight in Mac OS X Lion, OS X Mountain Lion, and OS X Mavericks can be done with the help of the Terminal. The following command unloads the Spotlight mds agent from launchd, thereby preventing the daemon from running or indexing any drives entirely. Open up the Terminal (found in /Applications/Utilities/) … Read More

Did Apple Inspire Google? Google Instant is Spotlight for the Web

Sep 13, 2010 - 13 Comments

There’s a lot of hooplah in the web world about Google Instant and it’s ability to turn up search results immediately while you type them. Is Google Instant really as new and revolutionary as it’s claimed to be? Yes and no. Yes for the web, and no for computing. You know what other prominent search … Read More

mds – what MDS process is and why it uses CPU on the Mac

Aug 5, 2010 - 40 Comments

If your Mac is suddenly running sluggish and you launched Activity Monitor, you may notice a process named ‘mds’ cranking away at 30% and even up to 90% CPU utilization. If you see this, don’t worry, it’s not abnormal behavior and your Mac isn’t crashing, it’s just indexing it’s built in search engine. What is … Read More

Turn Spotlight into an Application Launcher Only in Mac OS X

Jul 6, 2010 - 4 Comments

You can easily turn OS X’s wonderful Spotlight search engine into only an application launcher for Mac apps by adjusting the Spotlight search settings that are found within System Preferences.

Set Spotlight Search Priorities in Mac OS X

Jun 30, 2010 - 4 Comments

You can easily adjust the search priorities in Spotlight so that other items are listed first in the Mac OS X Spotlight search results. For example, you could adjust the priorities so that files and documents are listed above apps, or so that images are shown above everything else. There are a ton of options … Read More

Open a Containing Folder in Spotlight on Mac by Hold Down Command Key

Jun 10, 2010 - 4 Comments

Spotlight is amazing at finding files buried deep within your Mac, but what if you found the file you wanted, and you don’t know what folder it’s contained within on the Mac, or if it’s buried deep somewhere in Mac OS X? The answer is as easy as a keystroke, because with a simple key … Read More

Use quotation marks with Spotlight to search for a phrase within a document

Jan 15, 2010 - Leave a Comment

If you know a phrase that is contained within a document, but can’t remember the document file name, try searching for the phrase that you know appears within the document. Make this phrase search even more precise by putting the phrase itself within quotation marks, for example “all rights reserved” will find all files that … Read More

Improve Spotlight Searches with Search Operators in Mac OS X

Jan 6, 2010 - 12 Comments

If you know some specific attributes of a file, application, or item you are looking for on a Mac, you can use Spotlight Search Operators to dramatically narrow down your returned results in the Mac OS search feature. For example, if the file type of a document you are looking for is a PDF, you … Read More

Open Finder Windows from Spotlight in OS X with Command+R

Jan 5, 2010 - Leave a Comment

You can easily open OS X Finder windows containing any search results from the Spotlight menu. After you have entered a search query into Spotlight, highlight the item you want by navigating to it in the search results, and as the desired item to be opened in the Finder is selected, hit Command+R to reveal … Read More

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