Spotlight is one of the many excellent tools you have on your Mac. It allows you to quickly and easily search for all the files you want on your computer. You’re probably familiar with some of its features if you’ve been using it for a while.

The tool also has some advanced features that most users and sites don’t seem to mention. These features make the tool even more useful and allow you to do more than just perform simple file search tasks in the tool.

20 tips for getting the most out of Spotlight on a Mac

Ways to start MacOS Spotlight

Spotlight icon in the menu bar

Spotlight can be invoked using two simple ways on your Mac. You can click the search icon in the menu bar or press the Command + Space keyboard shortcut to open the tool.

Launch apps with Spotlight

Disk Utility in Spotlight

If you can’t find an app in the Dock or Launchpad, you can use macOS Spotlight to search for any app installed on your Mac. Just lift Reflectortype the name of the app and it will appear.

Search for specific file types

Search by type of report: pdf

If you are looking for certain file formats, such as PDF files, you can use the guy filter to filter the search results. To seek report type: pdf it will only recover report files in PDF format. You can use any file format you want.

Make use of Boolean operators

Not type report search: pdf

Boolean operators allow you to refine search results with various operators. For example, if you only want to recover your reports which are not in PDF format, you can search for something similar NOT kind report: pdf.

Filter the results by date

Filter results by date in Spotlight

The date filter allows you to find files that were created or modified in certain date ranges. If you are looking for a file that was created, say December 20, you will be looking for file name created: 12/20/2019.

Convert currencies

Convert currencies in Spotlight

Those of you who keep an eye on multiple currencies will want to know the exchange rates of various currencies. Spotlight allows you to do this with ease. Open the tool, type 100 USD to GBPand you will have your US dollars converted to British pounds. It works for many other currencies.

Unit conversion

Conversion of units in the spotlight

Spotlight also allows you to convert units. For example, you can type 200 km in miles and it will instantly show you the resulting figures in miles. You can use it to convert temperature and weight as well.

Find the meanings of words (dictionary)

Find the definitions in Spotlight

You don’t need to open a dictionary to look up a word as it’s built right into macOS Spotlight. To type to define followed by the word you are looking for the meaning of and it will display the definition. You can search for any word that is part of the dictionary.

Perform mathematical calculations

Mathematical Calculation in Spotlight

Spotlight also works as a calculator and you can use it to perform both simple and complex math calculations. It works for simple things like 2 + 2 as well as the sine and cosine equations.

Open the folder containing the file

Sometimes you may need to open the folder where the file you are looking for is located. This can be done using a simple keyboard shortcut. to press Command + Enter while the file is selected in the results and it will open the folder in the Finder.

View file paths

View file paths in Spotlight

The Mac has several ways to view file paths, and one of them is built into Spotlight. While you have selected a file in a Spotlight search, press and hold the key Command key. You will see the full path to the file at the bottom of the Spotlight window.

Find local places

Find local restaurants in Spotlight

If you’ve enabled Location Services on your Mac and are looking for certain places around you, Spotlight can help you find a variety of places. Look for words like restaurants, Pizza, Hamburgeretc, and it will show you the establishments serving these items around you.

Resize the Spotlight window

The default size of the Spotlight window should be sufficient for most users, however, if you want it a little bigger or smaller, you can also change it. Place your cursor in the corners of the window and you can make it smaller or larger.

Clear the search query

One of Spotlight’s habits is that it shows you previous search results when you open it, even if it was closed the last time you used it. The easiest way to clear the search and results is to press the key Esc key. It will allow you to enter a new query.

Open the search query on search engines

If you don’t find the results you’re looking for in Spotlight, press the key Command + B keys and will search the specified query on the default search engine. Quickly opens the main browser and opens the search results page for the search terms.

Track flights in real time

Real-time flight tracking in Spotlight

With real-time flight tracking, you can find out where a flight is by simply entering its flight number. For example, if you want to see the current status of the Virgin Atlantic VS9 flight from London to New York, type VS9 in Spotlight and you will see the flight details in real time.

View weather information

Time display in Spotlight

If you’re going somewhere and want to know what the weather will be like there, a simple Spotlight search will reveal this information. To type weather in San Francisco and it will give you the current weather information for that particular city.

Use natural language search

Apple has recently made significant improvements to the Spotlight tool and now understands natural human language to some degree. Looking for things like file I opened yesterday will reveal a list of all the files you accessed yesterday.

Include / Exclude items

Featured options

You can go to System Preferences> Spotlight> Search Results to include and exclude various items from display in search results.

Add more macOS Spotlight features

Creating a note using Spotlight

You can further enhance Spotlight’s capabilities by using an app like Flashlight. It allows you to add various plugins to extend the functionality of the already great tool on your Mac.

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