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Spotlight: OS X Series

A spotlight on the OS X search tool

*Note: This is a ongoing series of articles regarding features of OS X that deserve a little extra attention. For referencing, I have included the date these features were integrated into the operating system. Happy reading!*

Spotlight is the search tool that is integrated into OS X. Spotlight indexes your hard drive(s) and provides instant search results. As with all OS X applications, it comes with plenty of features that you won't get with other search products.
Mac OS X Spotlight Features

Spotlight searches files on the hard drive(s) not only by filename, but also by meta data, internal tagging systems (such as ID3), and even user-added comments. Notice in the screenshots below how I added Spotlight comments directly from the Info panel. The image to the right shows the instant results when keying in two words I used in the Spotlight comments.
Mac OS X Spotlight Features Mac OS X Spotlight Features

Spotlight will search for and find documents, music, video, pictures, email messages, and even bookmarks.

You have the ability to exclude files, folders, and even entire drives. If you have a folder where you keep sensitive information and you don't want to risk someone stumbling upon it while performing a search, simply add that folder to the exclude list and click OK. This will not only exclude it from search results, but also will exclude it from indexing as well.
Mac OS X Spotlight Features Mac OS X Spotlight Features

You can also choose what you want to show first. I use Spotlight as an application launcher for those once-a-week apps I use, so naturally, I have Applications as my first response.

Can't find a system pane to change a preference? Launch System Preferences and type what you are looking for and watch it present exact results and even spotlight the different sections that have preferences based on your query.
Mac OS X Spotlight Features

Features you won't find on any other OS's search is the ability to find and view definitions based on words you search for. You just type the word into Spotlight and up pops the word, the word type and the first few words of the definition. Clicking the result launches the OS X application Dictionary which includes a full dictionary, thesaurus, and Wiki.
Mac OS X Spotlight Features

Another feature I use constantly is it's ability to solve simple math equations which keeps me from launching Calculator or any other third party application.
Just type the problem (10*3) and it sees it as a math question and kicks back the result: 10*3 = 30 followed by a list of any documents, apps, music, etc that are relevant to the data. I really do use this religiously.
Mac OS X Spotlight Features

At first glance, Spotlight appears to just be a straight-forward search tool. But after discovering it's unique and productive features, you'll find it's much more than just a simple search bar.

Spotlight has been on Macintosh computers since the release of 10.4 Tiger on April 29, 2005.

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about chris

My name is Chris. I live in Broken Arrow, OK. I am a husband. I'm a proud father of two boys. I'm a Mormon. Boomer Sooner.

This is a log of my daily life, although I rarely have the opportunity to update it daily, or even weekly. Most of the time I include pictures of the events I talk about in the entries.

My passions live here. Topics that I'm particularly passionate about, interested in, or whatever else I deem worthy to live here. It can get pretty scary in here.

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Random pieces of my everyday life will be here. These could be pictures of my son playing football, recording of my wife playing on the Wii, or audio of my playing drums. If I want to share it, here's where it'll be!

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2SELECT `Thought`.`id`, `Thought`.`date`, `Thought`.`title`, `Thought`.`media_main`, `Thought`.`media_path`, `Thought`.`description`, `Thought`.`text` FROM `thoughts` AS `Thought` WHERE `Thought`.`id` = 22 LIMIT 1111
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