How to Expand Spotlight Searches on Your MacBook - dummies

How to Expand Spotlight Searches on Your MacBook

By Mark L. Chambers

If you click the Show in Finder menu item at the beginning of your search results on your MacBook, the Spotlight menu expands into the Spotlight window (which is actually a Finder window with extras).


To further filter the search, click one of the buttons on the Spotlight window toolbar or create your own custom filter. Click the button with the plus sign to display the search criteria bar and then click the pop-up menus to choose from criteria, such as the type of file, the text content, or the location on your system (for example, your hard drive, your Home folder, or a network server).

You can also filter your results listing by the date the items were created or last saved. To add or delete criteria, click the plus and minus buttons at the right side of the search criteria bar. To save a custom filter that you’ve created, click the Save button.

Images appear as thumbnail icons, so you can use that most sophisticated search tool — the human eye — to find the picture you’re looking for. (If you don’t see thumbnail images, click the Icon view button on the toolbar.) Don’t forget that you can increase or decrease the size of the icons by dragging the slider at the bottom right of the window.

To display the contents of an item in the list (without leaving the comfortable confines of the Spotlight window), click the icon to select it and click the Quick Look icon in the toolbar (or press the spacebar) for a better view.

Again, when you’re ready to open an item, just double-click it in the Spotlight window.

Spotlight can look for matching items on other Macs on your network — but only if those remote Macs are configured correctly. To allow another Mac running Mac OS X Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, or Lion to be visible to Spotlight on your system, enable File Sharing on the other Mac.

(Oh, and remember that you need an admin-level account on that Mac — or access to a good friend who has an admin-level account on that Mac.)

Follow these steps to enable File Sharing on the other Mac:

  1. Click the System Preferences icon in the Dock.

  2. Click the Sharing pane.

  3. Select the On check box next to the File Sharing item in the service list to enable it.

  4. Click the Close button on the System Preferences window.

Remember, you can search only items that you have rights and permissions to view on the remote Mac (such as the contents of the Public folders on that computer).