Yosemite: A Take Control Crash Course
by Scholle McFarland

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Find More Faster with Spotlight

No longer limited to just your files and apps, OS X’s search tool, Spotlight, reaches out to the Internet to let you access more information more quickly. Want to go to a movie? There’s no need to open Safari and search the Web. Just press Command-Spacebar and type in the film’s name. Spotlight gives you ratings, reviews, and local show times before you can say “Google” .

① 	Yosemite’s Spotlight can find more than just files and applications.

① Yosemite’s Spotlight can find more than just files and applications.

Even tidbits you’ve been able to see in Spotlight for a while—like contact information or Dictionary definitions—are easier to use, because instead of having to hover your pointer over a result to see a preview, the information appears automatically. For quick questions, Spotlight might be all you need.

Activate Spotlight

To activate Spotlight press Command-Spacebar or click the magnifying glass in the menu bar. The new Spotlight search field appears in the middle of your screen, no longer tethered to the menu bar. (Unfortunately, you can’t move or resize the field if it’s in the way of something you’re referencing.) Type your search term in the field to begin.

Find (Just) Files Faster

Want to find a file without being distracted by Web results? Press Command-Option-Spacebar to bring up a regular Finder search window. If you’re in the Finder, you can also press Command-F.

Preview Your Results

As you type, Spotlight tries to guess what you’re seeking. You might only have to type a few characters before hits begin to appear in the left-hand panel below the search field, divided by category. Select one by using your arrow keys or your pointer.

Previous versions of Spotlight let you preview many different types of search results, scrolling through a PDF or even playing a song before you launched it in its app. However, you had to hover your pointer over a search result for a moment before the preview appeared, which meant many people never realized Spotlight had previews at all .

② 	It was easy to miss Spotlight’s previews in Mavericks—you had to hover your pointer over a search result before the preview appeared.

② It was easy to miss Spotlight’s previews in Mavericks—you had to hover your pointer over a search result before the preview appeared.

Yosemite’s Spotlight is a big improvement. When you select a search result, its preview automatically appears in Spotlight’s new preview pane to the right . You can’t miss it.

③ 	In Yosemite, previews appear automatically beside a search result when you select it.

③ In Yosemite, previews appear automatically beside a search result when you select it.

What Can You Find?

Yosemite’s Spotlight greatly increases the types of information you can find without ever opening a browser. Here are some of the highlights:

④ 	Don’t bother digging through your Applications folder for an app. Use Spotlight to find and launch it with just a few key strokes.

④ Don’t bother digging through your Applications folder for an app. Use Spotlight to find and launch it with just a few key strokes.

⑤ 	Use Spotlight to look up contact information quickly. Hover and then click on the preview to send a message or email, or to find the address in Maps.

⑤ Use Spotlight to look up contact information quickly. Hover and then click on the preview to send a message or email, or to find the address in Maps.

⑥ 	Spotlight does simple conversions, saving you a trip to Google or your dog-eared copy of _Joy of Cooking_.

⑥ Spotlight does simple conversions, saving you a trip to Google or your dog-eared copy of Joy of Cooking.

Warning! You can’t resize the Spotlight window. If a document preview is wide or has multiple pages, usually scrollbars will appear. PDFs, however, seem to be an exception.

⑦ 	Whether you’re looking for a cozy bookstore or the nearest gelato joint, Spotlight finds local matches from Maps along with relevant Yelp reviews.

⑦ Whether you’re looking for a cozy bookstore or the nearest gelato joint, Spotlight finds local matches from Maps along with relevant Yelp reviews.

Take It to Another Level

If Spotlight’s souped-up search and launching powers aren’t quite enough for your needs, check out powerful utilities like LaunchBar or Alfred.

Reorder Spotlight’s Results

If you know you’ll always want to see a certain type of Spotlight results first, or that you’ll never want another kind, go to System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results. Here you can drag a category up or down in the list to change its order in your Spotlight results. Uncheck the checkbox next to a category to remove it from your results altogether .

⑧ 	Drag and drop categories in the list to make Spotlight’s results appear in whatever order you choose.

⑧ Drag and drop categories in the list to make Spotlight’s results appear in whatever order you choose.

Exclude Files from Spotlight

What if you’d rather that Spotlight not find certain files? Whether it’s super-secret documents, naughty love letters, or the contents of a backup drive, you can exclude files from Spotlight. Go to System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy . Drag a folder or disk onto the window, or click the plus button and navigate to the item.

⑨ 	Exclude files you don’t want to show up in Spotlight results.

⑨ Exclude files you don’t want to show up in Spotlight results.

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“Want to find a file without being distracted by Spotlight’s Web results? Press Command-Option-Spacebar.”

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