The Spotlight Menu and Window in OS X Yosemite - dummies

The Spotlight Menu and Window in OS X Yosemite

By Bob LeVitus

A great way to search for files and folders in OS X Yosemite is to use the Spotlight menu itself — the magnifying-glass icon at the far-right end of your menu bar. Click the icon to open the Spotlight Search box, and then type a character, word, or series of words in the Search box to find an item.


Spotlight received a major overhaul in Yosemite. It no longer sprouts from its menu in the corner of the screen; now Spotlight floats elegantly in the middle of your screen.

Check out the new scrollable previews, and how they’re now culled not only from your hard disk, but also from Wikipedia, Bing, Maps, and other sources.

Also notice that a preview appears on the right of the selected item (the Wikipedia entry for Yosemite National Park i), a nice touch.

Memorize and use the super-convenient and easy-to-remember keyboard shortcut for opening the Spotlight Search box, which is Command+spacebar by default. If you don’t find Command+spacebar appealing as a shortcut, you can change it to whatever you like in the Spotlight System Preference pane.

Spotlight is more than just a menu and Search box; it also uses a technology that’s pervasive throughout OS X and apps including (but certainly not limited to) Mail, Contacts, and many, many more. The reason why it’s so spectacularly speedy is that it “indexes” your files when your Mac is idle. The upshot is that Spotlight knows file locations and contents soon after a file is created or modified.