Searching with Sherlock in Mac OS X Panther - dummies

Searching with Sherlock in Mac OS X Panther

By Bob LeVitus

Looking for something on the Internet? Check out Sherlock, an application included with Mac OS X that can help you locate stuff on the Internet. You can scour general-purpose Internet search engines with the options under the Internet button or get more specific with one of the nine other Internet buttons.

In this article, you’ll discover how to find Sherlock, how to use it to search the Internet, and how to get help with it when all else fails.

Starting Sherlock

You have two ways to invoke Sherlock:

  • Double-click the Sherlock icon in your Applications folder.
  • Click the Sherlock icon on the Dock.

Whichever way you choose, the Sherlock window appears, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: It’s Sherlock’s Channels screen.

A quick look at Sherlock’s features

The top of the Sherlock window sports a series of buttons. From left to right they are Channels, Internet, Pictures, Stocks, Movies, Phone Book, eBay, Flights, Dictionary, Translation, and AppleCare. You click the button that best represents what you’re searching for. If you’re looking for a Web site, click Internet. If you want to find where and when a movie is playing near you, click Movies. If you want to look up a word’s meaning, click Dictionary. And so on.

The bottom part of the Sherlock window changes, depending on which button you’ve clicked (before a search). Then, it displays the results of your search (after you search, of course).

Searching with Sherlock

You follow the same steps to search in any of the other channels. After you know how to search the Internet with Sherlock, you know how to search any Internet channel with Sherlock. To use Sherlock, follow these steps:

1. Start Sherlock.

2. Click one of the ten Internet buttons to choose a channel.

Figure 2 shows the Internet channel.

Figure 2: Searching for myself by using Sherlock’s Internet search.

Yes, there are actually 11 icons, but the leftmost icon just describes what the 10 real search icons do, as you can see in Figure 1. The 10 to the right of the little dividing line are the actual buttons that you click for Internet searches.

3. In the text entry field beneath the Sherlock search buttons, type a word or a phrase that you want to search for.

4. To begin your search, press Return or click the magnifying glass button to the right of the text entry field.

Sherlock passes your request along to the Web search engines and then displays a list of search results, similar to Figure 2.

5. Click any search site listed along the bottom of Sherlock’s window (About, Ask Jeeves, Best Site 1st, and so on) to launch your Web browser and access the search engine directly.

To start a new search, repeat Steps 2 through 5.

Some channels are slightly different in the way they look, such as the Movies channel shown in Figure 3, which doesn’t let you search for movies by name but rather asks for your city and state or ZIP code and then displays the movies in a three-column browser.

Figure 3: The Movies channel works a bit differently than some of the others.

The Movies channel offers some nifty extras not found in other channels, including the movie poster and a QuickTime preview (lower-right pane of Figure 3) and the Map this Theater button (lower-left pane of Figure 3). Slick!