does anyone USE spotlight?


Spotlight is changing the way I organize my files and manage projects. I use Get Info to insert keywords into Spotlight Comments and I can then search on a keyword and pull up all the files with that keyword in the Spotlight Comment field. It makes it easy to associate a given file with multiple projects without having to create a bunch of aliases or worry about moving files or folders to a different location.

It isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a heck of a first release. Some have suggested it may even replace hierarchical file systems. I wouldn't go that far for practical as well as habitual reasons, but taken together with its companion Smart Folder technology it does offer the opportunity for lots of different views of the same data set.


Absolutely it is not perfect, but for a first release it has changed the way I use my computer and I think I have something of an extreme situation. 5 drives at 100 gb short of a terabyte.


I like spotlight when I need to search for files by content. This becomes a real life saver, when I'm writing papers. For example, I may have read something about VC theory and divergence, but for the life of me I can't remember which of the over 200 papers I have on my computer it was located in. Spotlight to the rescue. I can't tell you how many times that has saved me. As I read and download more papers, this becomes an even bigger life saver.

Spotlight is cool too when trying to look for some system property that you don't know where to find. I think many people seem to miss the fact that spotlight isn't there to just search for documents. It can search for literally anything if you write a plug-in for it.


Viro - that is exactly the way it is saving me so much time! Though I have no idea what VC theory and divergence are about! :)


East Anglia branch
I've only had Tiger for four days, and have had hardly any time within that to really get to grips with it. But Spotlight has already proved invaluable (unlike Dashboard, which imho seems a bit like 'boys toys').

I have a large number of text documents on my machine, some of which are excerpted from other website texts or PDFs, as well as a large number of emails, going back several years, all related to the area I am researching and writing about.

It has already made life so much easier, that I am beginning to wonder how I managed before. Well, with great difficulty, actually.

I actually know of someone who was so impressed with Spotlight, and uses it so often, that he absent-mindedly used it to search for his missing house keys....


Eyebrow Moderator
I'm already organized, so I really have no use for it. I tend to just use it as an app launcher *shrugs*


Jason said:
I'm already organized, so I really have no use for it.
All that tells me is that you work with boring data. It does not matter how I have organized things I will need it in a different configuration next week. I will be addressing new problems in (hopefully) novel ways.

Admittedly, I am a bit of a data slob. But you can't tell me that you remember which paper you read 6 months ago had that interesting footnote on widget frobbing. Unless you are organizing based on footnote contents.


adambyte said:
I use Quicksilver for much of my quick app launching and folder finding. But yes, when it comes to hunting down data, hard-core-style, I use Spotlight.
I'm the same way, QS is perfect for launching Applications. Using Spotlight to find documents gives far better results.
It comes down to if I find myself double clicking on my HD, something is wrong. I should be able to find that document/application next time with either QS or Spotlight.

Ripcord said:
I probably would use it in the Finder more (i.e. ever) if there was a good way to search specifically by file name. Has anyone ever figured out a way to do that?

Otherwise, I tend to get too many hits for it to be particularly useful. If there was a semi-powerful syntax for doing searches in the Spotlight Shortcut (so I can limit my searches up-front, say, by telling it on-the-fly to only search for images), it'd probably be more useful to me.
I've found that if you Use "quotes", the Spotlight only searches in the filename. which should help refine the list for you.

Also, don't forget the Boolean capability.
Apple(-Macintosh) will return Everything Apple but will exclude if the work Macintosh is in it as well. Be sure there is no space.
Only bug I've found is that it doesn't work with both Apple and Macintosh are in the filename. Ohh well.

Another trick I've noticed is the use of the 'kind:' ability.
Enter APPLE KIND:pDF will bring up only PDF documents with the words Apple in it. Don't know why this doesn't yet work for other type of files. Tried Doc, gif, etc. no luck.

I will start a thread that lists all these thing I've found, probably call it "Advanced Spotlight features"

Lt Major Burns said:
i think of a specific song. instead of searching in itunes (for which there isn't a shortcut for, so it's very mouse orientated) hit apple+space and start typing. it'll usually be the top hit, so press down twice and hit enter.

that's a point: how irritating is it that the top hit... isn't? i mean the top hit is second to the stupid "show all" feature.[
It is kinda odd how they did that, but at least they offered a quick workaround. Instead of pressing the down arrow key twice and then enter, just do cmd-enter, that will jump to the top pick and open it for you.
Yet another cool trick is that if you do down arrow twice to any file and hit cmd-enter, it will open the folder that contains the document. I like that!

Hope this helps everyone!


Registered Bot
Spotlight is spectacular. Before 10.4, I was lazily thinking about getting around to recalling/learning the syntax for find (I think it's find) that allows a search within files.



A few times spotlight has proven itself invaluable and reallyhelped me find something that otherwise would have taken a lot longer to dig up. So for that I am grateful and think it's really powerful and useful.

However, in general, for me spotlight is too much. It finds too much. I typically actually know what I'm looking for, I know what it's name is and I even know where it is. I liked Panther's inline search better for letting me dig into a directory right to the file (which I already know what it is called) from the top just by entering a few letters. That was more efficient for me.

Spotlight still lets me do that, but it comes up with so much other junk that it's actually less efficient more often than not.

My solution would be for them so simply allow us to use a modifier character, like a colon for example at the start of any spotlight search, which would indicate that the search should ignore metadata and just find the file name. This is just one solution.

For me Panther's inline search was a HUGE productivity boost. Spotlight is just another step in refining that utility.