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Spotlight searching customization tips System
You can search your computer using Spotlight using search options like other search engines.

Not sure how long spotlight has been this way, but I found it very helpful when searching. You can enter a search query just like you would on Google, use a dash or minus in front of word(s) that you don't want to see in the results.

Example: apple store receipt -itunes kind:pdf

Would find all PDF documents that don't contain iTunes info and that were an Apple Store receipt that are on your computer.

Example: happy kind:mp3

Would find all MP3 files on your computer with the word happy in the file name or meta tags.

Example: happy kind:mp3 -"and you know it"

Finds all MP3 files on your computer like above but omits the kids song if "your happy and you know it clap your hands" while returning all other results like above.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. There is an earlier hint describing other tips for customizing Spotlight searches using Terminal.]
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Spotlight searching customization tips | 11 comments | Create New Account
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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: designr on May 26, '10 11:57:54AM

I don't have any happy songs.

(nice hint.)



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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: The Eck on May 26, '10 12:09:25PM

I would really like to see a tutorial or a cheat sheet that illustrates all the various ways Spotlight can be manipulated. Doing a quick Google search turns up many places that describe Terminal command for Spotlight but nothing (that I've found) that shows what commands and operators and variables can be strung together in the Spotlight field to narrow down results.

The hint above is very helpful in this regard, but is also pretty narrow. Any general Hints would be most appreciated.



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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: blgrace on May 26, '10 03:17:55PM

This hint didn't work for me as written.
I had to put the operators in first, i.e. kind:audio flaphead



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Why won't it work on AAC files?
Authored by: slb on May 26, '10 05:38:04PM

I tried:
lover kind:aac
lover kind:AAC
lover kind:m4a
Nothing works with those. What am I missing? Or is this limited to certain file type?



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Why won't it work on AAC files?
Authored by: richie on May 26, '10 11:07:28PM

Tried this out - looks like the "kind:" really does only search the "Kind" field, not the extension. I couldn't get "kind:aac" to work either, but if you go to the Finder, look at the "kind" column, you have to actually type in what is in that column. For AAC and m4a files, it lists kind as "MPEG-4 Audio File". So you have to search for "kind:MPEG-4" or whatever else you're looking for.

I think if you search directly for "m4a", it will search in the actual file name, incl. the extension.

On a side note, I found that the search field also searched the metadata, so to restrict it, I had to do name:"praise" so that I would only get the titles with the word "praise" in it.



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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: centurion48 on May 26, '10 09:39:23PM

See the Apple Support document:
<http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.5/en/15155.html>
for similar information.



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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: NaOH-Lye on May 26, '10 11:25:52PM
Folks might want to see the PDF providing numerous Spotlight tips which is already hosted here on Mac OS X Hints:

http://www.macosxhints.com/dlfiles/spotlight_cmds.pdf

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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: Toadling on May 27, '10 04:21:01PM

Macworld also had an article with similar info a couple years ago:

http://www.macworld.com/article/132788/2008/04/spotlight2.html



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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: jamiebah on May 27, '10 09:50:03PM

For more tips and tricks, you can also look at the advanced search link on the Google page, they all seem to work.



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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: osxpounder on Jun 01, '10 02:40:27PM

Searching for exact phrases, contained within quotation marks, is weird and unpredictable on my Leopard Macs.

Example:

I have an email with the subject:

5.3 fixed the forkin' lines


If I do a Spotlight search for:
"the forkin' line"

... the email will not be found.

If I search for this, instead:
"the forkin' lines"

... then the email is found.






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Spotlight searching customization tips
Authored by: MJCube on Jun 02, '10 07:23:08AM

So that implies that quoting the string will find whole words only.



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