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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose Apps
Application names frequently don't reflect the actual task that they perform. The name Safari, for instance, really doesn't have much relation to web browsing after all. If you download lots of shareware applications, the situation is even worse, with application names often being obscure or jokey. As an example, I recently found a great address label printing application, but now I can't find it again because I can't remember what the heck it was called ! I know it's in my Applications folder, but I just can't seem to find it.

Well, there's an easy way to keep track of what task applications perform. Use Get Info in the Finder on the application in question, and in the Spotlight comments section, type a few descriptive words about what that application does. In the example above, I'd probably type address labels.

Now, next time you want to find an application that does a specific task, just use Spotlight to search for the keywords associated with that task. The applications that match will be found and displayed in the Applications section of the results list. For instance, when I want to print an address label, I just open the spotlight search and type address labels, and there's the list of matching applications.

[robg adds: This hint discussed using Spotlight comments to launch applications more quickly, which is similar in concept to this hint. However, using the comments as a means of identifying what an application does is a good idea. If you use a unique prefix, maybe something like wdtd (what does this do) in the comments box, your Spotlight searches will return only your matching applications, as the odds of finding wdtd in any other file are quite low.]
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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose | 13 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose
Authored by: mgpalma on Dec 21, '06 08:18:44AM

I have been doing something like this for awhile now, but one step further. I will go to versiontracker.com lookup the software title and copy and paste the description from there into Spotlight. I have found it very useful!



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Entry via Get Info is a pain, though
Authored by: brachiator on Dec 21, '06 11:31:25AM

I love Spotlight and have been using it more and more as I've realized its power. But having to open Get Info for every file is a pain.

I've sent feedback to Apple asking for a Spotlight comments field in the Open/Save dialogs, which would help.

Does anyone know, though, of some sort of browser that allows one to traipse through a folder of files consecutively adding Spotlight comments? Even something as basic as the way iTunes has Previous/Next in the Get Info dialog would help.

I'd like to spend 10 mins implementing this hint – not 2 hours! :-)



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Entry via Get Info is a pain, though
Authored by: macgruder on Dec 21, '06 07:42:16PM

command-option I

Then click away. See too my later comment about Quicksilver for an alternate message.



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Entry via Get Info is a pain, though
Authored by: brachiator on Dec 21, '06 08:05:52PM

Thanks, macgruder. I don't see a comments entry field in the multiple Get Info window, though.

After doing a bit of googling I was embarrased to learn/realize that a very simple Automator action can be created, consisting of only the 2 actions "Get selected Finder items" and "Add Spotlight Comments." Works quite well.

Also, a beta program called SpotMeta looks interesting as a way to integrate tagging into workflow, but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.



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Entry via Get Info is a pain, though
Authored by: macgruder on Dec 22, '06 08:17:13PM

Click through one at a time, and the Info window will automatically update to reflect the info of the selection rather than doing a multiple selection.



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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose
Authored by: mooman on Dec 21, '06 03:03:57PM

Unfortunately upgrading applications tends to destroy the comments though, but in the end, not many apps are updated on a really regular basis.

Just something to keep in mind.



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Use Quicksilver to enter comments
Authored by: macgruder on Dec 21, '06 07:40:11PM

1. Trigger
2. saf TAB
3. com TAB
4. Type your comment Return

The above will let you enter a comment in Safari very quickly. Step 3, will bring up "Set Comment", so you may prefer sc , setc, set or whatever. That's the cool thing about Quicksilver. You don't need to remember much.

Spotlight is cool for finding text inside files, and for finding particular types of files like images. Quicksilver is better for everything else. Just try resizing an image in Spotlight!



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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose
Authored by: johnrchang on Dec 22, '06 01:14:34AM

As long as you don't have a multiple selection, the Inspector will show the Spotlight comments field. In other words, bring up the Inspector (Option-Command-I to show the inspector) and change the selection one item at a time.



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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose
Authored by: BrentT on Dec 22, '06 12:33:39PM

Maybe this isn't Kosher but it seems to work for me: I just change the name of the obscure app into something more meaningful (e.g. *censored*tail to *censored*tail System Utility). The name will get changed on updates but at least I know what it is. I can easily change the name again after the update. Just highlight the app name and append text to the name.

If this is bad mojo, please let me know.



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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose
Authored by: macgruder on Dec 22, '06 08:14:37PM

Create an alias would work, and it would continue to work after an update.



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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose
Authored by: BrentT on Dec 24, '06 09:06:30AM

Another solution that wouldn't add icons to the Applications window would be to create a folder with a descriptive name for the oddly named app.

Also, I have created folders based on their specialty such as Sound, Video, Word Processing, Drawing, Photo, etc. This reduces the number of icons in the Applications folder and aids finding that one small app when you need it.



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Identify YOUR OWN purpose with Spotlight
Authored by: peterrosen on Mar 15, '08 12:54:13PM

I spend countless hours at the Mac. Sometimes, I even get things accomplished before being taken off focus by surfing, IM, email response, etc. So to see where all my time goes, I thought to look via Spotlight. I opened spotlight preferences and set it to look at the last week, by date. Then I typed a single period (.) into the search field and waited. Out popped a neatly organized list of my work and toggling between applications (and discovery of where diverse attention goes). So I can now clearly see where most of my time goes, but I have a problem you might help me with?

I can't find a way to print out the results of this search that show the icons, name of file or application, the date and time. There is NO printing resource. Dragging onto STICKIES just broke Stickies (I selected alias when asked if I am sure I want to copy the items), and then tried TextEdit which listed the files in a flash, but nothing else. Is there a way to do a screen capture of the whole window (which is several miles long LOL), or at least get the whole enchilada as desired?

TIA,
Peter



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10.4: Use Spotlight to identify a program's purpose
Authored by: TheWhiteSeal on May 13, '08 01:11:41AM
Hi there, On the subject of printing address labels I would have to admit that I never really had much luck with my label printer. I spent all my time messing around with the printer and it still never printed any decent looking labels. In the end I decided to give up on the whole DIY approach and I found a british labels company to print my address labels, they saved me so much hassle.

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