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Spotlight is one way to find items on your Mac. It's fast and it's convenient, but there are times when you need to perform more complete searches and save those searches for a rainy day. That's when you turn to the Finder search feature, which we are going to look at now. To invoke that you can go to the File menu within the Finder and choose Find or you can type Command+F. This works pretty much the way you'd use Spotlight. Go under Search term, and you see this entry in the menu that appears below.
It says Filename Contains. This is important. If you're looking for a file that contains the search term, select this option. If you don't, and as you can see, in the window, you get not only files that contain the name, but also files that have that term within them somewhere. So we'll select Filename Contains. You can also choose where you are going to search. By default, you will search your entire Mac, but you also search the environment you're searching from. So in this case it would be Desktop or you can choose Shared.
We will go back to the entire Mac. I will go up to Name and we are going choose Everything, so we can see all the files that contain my name. Now you see these pop-up menus below. This allows you to narrow your search. So Kind in this case is we are going to look for Images. It turns up then just pictures that contain my name. You can also save your searches. So to do that click Save and name your search. It will go on the Save Searches folder, but you can also add it to the sidebar.
Add it over here, and whatever I'm looking for me on this computer, by name, I can click that and pull up that list of files. Back to Find window. Using the Search window, you can also build searches. So let's say I will enter iPad. That will be for everything. So Kind is Any. Click the plus button. We'll say that the name contains template, and that pulls up that one file.
So this is another way of narrowing my search. Now there are other things you can search for using these pop-up menus and I find this really helpful in this one case. So I'll go to the first pop-up menu. I choose Other and down comes a sheet of all the things that I can search for. And you can see it's a very, long list. Well, there is one thing that I always want to search for, and I want to search within my Library folder and within my System folder, but by default the Mac won't do that. So all I have to do is type in system. When I do that, I see that I can search for system files, and again, it will look in the System folder.
It will also look in Library folders. I then enable the In menu and click OK. So by default, it will say system files are not included, but I can also add are included, and you see when I do that, a whole bunch of files appear that weren't there before and that's because they were contained in a Library folder or in the System folder. So if you're doing a very deep search, this is worth adding. You could also look for things by size.
So I go to Other, type in size, File Size. I am going to add that and click OK. So let's say I'm looking for really big files that are on my Mac. Okay, I want them to be greater than let's say 300 megabytes. This shows me where I've got big files, and this is worthwhile, because let's suppose your hard drive has become crammed full of stuff and it's getting really, really full.
This is a quick way to find out what's taking up a lot of space on your hard drive. You may go through these things and find well, I don't really need that file after all, so this is one way that you can get rid of them. Again you can save this. We'll call it Big Files, put it in Saved Searches, plus add it to the sidebar, and now once again we've got another search. So when were looking for big files, we can use that. Before we finish up, I will close that. And a couple of tips. To search specifically by filename, hold down Control+Command+F. And when you do that you are going to search by file name, and you can tell that will work, because if you hold down the Control key, you will see that the Find command changes to Find by Name.
So in this case all search results return only those files that include the search term in their name. Now I mentioned saving searches. Another way to do that is build one of these searches through a Smart Search, and it looks like this. New Smart Folder and then you define what you're looking for. So the same idea, you can gang together searches and then you can save them, and it's added as a Smart Search.
Apple's search and Spotlight technologies are found all over Mac OS and in Apple's applications. Not only can you find used for it in the Finder, but you'll find it in Address Book, Mail, iCal, and some of the iLife applications. Third-party applications can use it as well. Wherever you find a search field on your Mac, there is a very good chance that Spotlight is behind it. Give it a go and I think you'll find it helpful.
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