Advanced OS/X Spotlight Search Tips

The Spotlight Search function on Apple OS/X is very good but appears simple. Here are some advanced searching tips.

  • Advanced Spotlight searching and tips

The pipe characer | acts as an OR. Minus – is NOT, Space is AND. Example = cat|dog(-mouse) is cat or dog but not mouse.

You can remove Applications and System Preferences and Contacts from Spotlight which will also speed it up. Look in System Preferences > Spotlight to uncheck it from your searches.

Anything added to Spotlight’s Privacy tab (in Sys Prefs) will not be indexed. If you add your mailboxes to it, Spotlight will speed up since it has less stuff to search.

When searching in Finder, you can add criteria much like an iTunes smart playlist. With it, you can view everything in a folder by using a “Size greater than 0” criteria. (Contributed by one of my alumni student programmers. I’m looking for his source.