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10.4: Two ways to bypass Spotlight 'find-as-you-type' System 10.4
Tiger only hintSpotlight has one "feature" that many people find quite annoying: as you start typing, Spotlight immediately starts matching results. If you have a large hard drive, and there are lots of matches, this can get quite annoying at times.

If you would prefer to complete your query before Spotlight starts going through your stuff (and perhaps choking on the way, as can sometimes happen), either of these third-party applications can help:
  1. Use Laserlight

    This is an AppleScript-based application that presents a display dialog into which you type your query before sending it to Spotlight as completed text. One nice touch: the author has also included an option to search as name or keyword only. Also, the program is GPL'd, so poke around inside it and tweak it as you need. The script inside has some very clever bits that might prove useful for other customizations of Spotlight functionality.

  2. Use Quicksilver as a Spotlight front-end.

    A Quicksilver text string (or any object, for that matter) can be "piped" to Spotlight, if the Spotlight plug-in is enabled. I don't believe it is by default. If yours isn't, try this:

    1. Open up Quicksilver's Preferences
    2. On the Plug-ins panel, check to see that the Spotlight module is available and enabled. If not, try the next step. Otherwise skip ahead.
    3. On the Applications panel, check "Enable advanced features" (you may need to change the level of this item to "Beta," and a restart of Quicksilver may be required as well).
    4. Still in Preferences, the Actions panel will now have two Spotlight actions listed in "All actions:" Search in Spotlight Window and Run Search with Spotlight. You may want to drag these up a few notches in the list, so they appear with a higher priority when using Quicksilver.

    Here are a couple of tips for doing this with Quicksilver:

    • Pressing period [.] right after invoking Quicksilver switches it to text input, rather than the default behaviour (searching though your catalogues for a match).
    • It appears (from my experience, anyway) that of the two actions, only "Search in Spotlight Window" can be used with text strings.
[robg adds: I tested Laserlight, and it works as described. If attached to a keyboard shortcut via any of the various apps available to do so, this could be quite handy if you hate the "find as you type" behavior of Spotlight.]
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10.4: Two ways to bypass Spotlight 'find-as-you-type' | 9 comments | Create New Account
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another SL frontend
Authored by: Herve5 on Sep 06, '05 09:40:41AM

As concerns Spotlight frontends, there is also the "Foxtrot Personal Search", by the guys making Powermail:
http://www.foxtrot.ch/



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Or just....
Authored by: stet on Sep 06, '05 09:56:49AM

copy and paste the search into the box.



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10.4: Two ways to bypass Spotlight 'find-as-you-type'
Authored by: fud on Sep 06, '05 02:47:42PM

Has anyone discovered a way to de-couple Spotlight typing speed, so the search has a delayed start, independent from the Keyboard Preferences?
I like to have my "Keyboard & Mouse" system preference Key Repeat Rate set to FAST and Delay Until Repeat SHORT, but this makes typing Spotlight searches almost impossible.
If I shorten the Keyboard settings, Spotlight typing works much better, but then I don't like the keyboard settings in other apps.



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10.4: Two ways to bypass Spotlight 'find-as-you-type'
Authored by: elvey on May 31, '12 11:34:59AM

fud wrote,
"I like to have my "Keyboard & Mouse" system preference Key Repeat Rate set to FAST and Delay Until Repeat SHORT, but this makes typing Spotlight searches almost impossible."

Hmm. On this 10.6 MBP, changing these (and clicking Show All, which I figure should work as an 'Apply' button) has no impact on the way Spotlight works. Old post, I know, but I didn't find any news on this issue with further googling.

Cut 'n paste (or patience) seems the best option. I just noticed that Spotlight takes a long time to respond to the second key-press after the first key-press initially, but doesn't if I run Spotlight a little later, searching for something else starting with totally different first few characters. I wonder if the delay doesn't really have much to do with time spent searching for the first letter, but rather has to do with initializing and loading the code and data used for all Spotlight searches in RAM.



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10.4: Two ways to bypass Spotlight 'find-as-you-type'
Authored by: VL-Tone on Sep 06, '05 11:45:26PM

I don't like how LaserLight uses GUI scripting to achieve it's goal, and the way it uses the clipboard.

The problem that forces them to use GUI scripting is that the Finder Applescript command to search using Spotlight is broken. When you use the command, you only get a weird blank Spotlight window.

This Applescript command is described in the finder Applescript dictionnary (Finder.rsrc). The AppleEvent ID for this command is "fndr ffnd". I found that there is another unused AppleEvent: "fndr find". I changed the "ffnd" to "find" in Finder.rsrc, hoping that it could fix the bug...But no, what it does it that instead of opening a blank Spotlight window, it opens a blank Finder search window. This command would be useful too, if it worked...

So if Apple fixes those two Applescript commands, it would be much easier to make a Spotlight front-end.



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10.4: Two ways to bypass Spotlight 'find-as-you-type'
Authored by: iRideSnow on Sep 07, '05 05:57:41PM

As someone mentioned above, you can copy-paste into the spotlight search box. Another option is to highlight the word/phrase and then ctrl-click (right click), a contextual menu pops up with 'Search in Spotlight' among other options depending on the ... well ... context. :)

Rob



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10.4: Two ways to bypass Spotlight 'find-as-you-type'
Authored by: afb on Sep 09, '05 04:44:22PM
A simple applescript will do the job in LaunchBar.
I found this on the app's mailing list, but I didn't save the message, so I can't give the author credit.
on handle_string(s)
	set search_string to s
	tell application "System Events"
		keystroke " " using {option down, shift down}
		delay 1
		keystroke search_string
	end tell
end handle_string
Put the script into your LB config. When you bring up the script onto the bar, hit the spacebar, as if you were searching with an internet search shortcut, and the script uses GUI scripting to bring up the results in the spotlight window (not the menu).

Note that if you've changed the default keyboard shortcut for the window, you'll need to change this line: keystroke " " using {option down, shift down}

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10.4: Two ways to bypass Spotlight 'find-as-you-type'
Authored by: loren_ryter on Sep 11, '05 03:20:03PM

I made LaserLight an AppleScript text based QuicKeys shortcut. There seems to be no reason this should be an application rather than a normal script.

Doing so:

1. makes it unnecessary to launch another application

2. is a lot faster to start

Caveats & Mods:

A.

I hate the way Applescript is stupid about where to put user dialogs. (this could be it's own tip if it isn't already!) To put up dialogs in front of frontmost application, I always use this:


tell application (path to «constant afdregfp» as text)
  activate
       display dialog "whatever"
end tell

so for each of the display dialog commands in laser light that is not already in a tell block (ie, system preferences), I used that format.

For ease, this is the main block chaged:

if defaultToKeyword then
    tell application (path to «constant afdregfp» as text)
      activate
      display dialog "Enter text to search for:" default answer pLastSearch buttons {"Cancel", "Search", "Keyword/Name Search"} default button "Keyword/Name Search" cancel button "Cancel"
    end tell
  else
    tell application (path to «constant afdregfp» as text)
      activate
      display dialog "Enter text to search for:" default answer pLastSearch buttons {"Cancel", "Keyword/Name Search", "Search"} default button "Search" cancel button "Cancel"
    end tell
  end if

B.

QK also has an annoying problem that cancel is treated like an error. To prevent this, change the step failure setting for the step to "continue to next step"

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Might this be it?
Authored by: magnamous on Jan 25, '07 07:14:46PM
I rooted around in the system folder and found this file:
/System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Search
I opened it in TextEdit and searched for "delay". I found what seemed to be a relevant variable name called "keyboardDelayForPartialSearchString". I tried using the defaults system in the Terminal to set up a preference file setting for it, but I haven't been able to get it to work. I don't know whether it has to be a number or a string or something else, and I don't know whether it has to be in the global com.apple.spotlight preferences or can be defined on a user-by-user basis, or whether this is all entirely irrelevant and has nothing to do with setting a preference for the delay. But, hey, I thought I'd mention it in case someone with more knowledge than I have can noodle around with it and figure it out.

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