Spotlight Search on the Mac

[Article by Anton Petre, Motueka SeniorNet]

Spotlight Search has long been one of the greatest features on the Mac (and iOS for that matter), and now with the latest versions of MacOS (or Mac OS X) the near instant search engine that spans Apple platforms has some new capabilities that make it even more powerful and worthwhile. From being able to find vaguely referenced recent documents, to seeing the weather anywhere, to getting sports scores and game schedules, you’ll be sure to find Spotlight is more useful than ever before thanks to natural language search and recognition.

We’ll show you five specific new types of search tricks that are possible in Mac OS X 10.11 or later. Assuming you’re on a modern version of Mac OS X hit Command+Spacebar to summon Spotlight and follow along to learn some really neat tricks on the Mac.

1: Instantly Find Recently Worked on Documents of Any Type with Natural Language

Spotlight has long been able to find documents and specific file types and even search based upon file dates, but what’s new is being able to use natural language to direct those searches. For example, you can now perform searches like this:

  • “Files I worked on three days ago”
  • “Pictures I opened last Tuesday”
  • “images I edited yesterday”

You get the idea, just use natural language, and you’ll be able to find stuff you worked on, whatever it is!

2: Get Weather Reports for Anywhere

Want to know what the temperature is in another city? Wondering what the weather is like at the coast? Just search:

  • “Weather in (location)”

3: Find Web Videos Quickly

Looking for a specific video you know or suspect is somewhere on the web? Just Spotlight for it:

  • “(name) video”

The more specific the name the better the result will be. If you’re looking for a specific music video, search for the full artist and song name followed by ‘video’.

4: Get Sports Scores & Game Schedules

Wondering what time your favourite team is playing? Wondering how bad your least favourite team is losing? Maybe you want to know a game schedule  Or what the score was of a game last week? Spotlight it is:

  • “(team name) score”
  • “(team name) schedule”
  • “(team 1 name) (team 2 name) game”
  • “(team) (sport) schedule”

Again, just use natural language and provide the team names, Spotlight will find the details for you!

5: Get Stock Quotes & Stock Market Prices

For the market junkies or those simply wondering how great or terrible their shares are doing, you can now ask Spotlight for specific  symbols and get data   with the following type of searches:

  • “(ticker symbol)” (such as AAPL for Apple)
  • “(company name) stock price”
  • “(market index) price”

The quotes are gathered directly from Yahoo Finance.

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