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MAC, iPHONE, & iPAD news, tips and tricks

The column that focuses on providing help, top advice and news about your Apple devices, namely Macs, iPhones and iPads. Please send any questions to Steve via the contact details at the end of this article

Q: Is it possible to find a file you need if you don’t remember what you called it?

A: Oh absolutely. Spotlight, the Mac’s built-in universal search feature, not only looks for matches in file names, but more importantly, finds words within the document, so if you remember what the file you’re looking for was about, chances are good that Spotlight will be able to find it.

You can access Spotlight in one of two ways; either by clicking on the magnifying glass, top right of the menubar, or by using the Command-Space keyboard shortcut. A large search field will appear in the middle of your screen (you can click and drag it to somewhere else if you prefer).

Start typing and options will be displayed beneath it, broken down by type, either Documents, PDFs, email messages, images, even links to potentially useful websites. Click on any one of the results to be shown a preview of it on the right, so you can see if this is the correct file you’re after without even needing to open it.

Once you’ve located your file, double-click on it and carry on with your work.

Spotlight has other uses too – it can be a calculator: just type in any formula and see the result instantly.

But perhaps the best use of Spotlight, aside from finding files, is a quick and convenient application launcher: start typing the name of the app you wish to open, and when you see its icon, hit the Return key to launch it. More often than not, you only need the first 2 or 3 letters for Spotlight to know what you’re looking for. It can be a great time saver.


Steve Paris is an internationally published writer, an Apple Certified Trainer, and provides consultancy, training and troubleshooting services to the Swansea area. You can email Steve on: steve@maclore.net or contact him on: 077-8866-0407

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