Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Filtering Spotlight Search in Finder

Since the launch of Mac OS 10.4 aka Tiger, Apple has replaced the "Search" box on Finder with Spotlight search.

While it is much more convenient to access Spotlight at the menu bar, its straightforward style of searching often produce a bloated result that may not satisfy you. To do a filtered search, Finder would be a better place to go.

Filtered Search

In Finder, type something in the Search box, and the Finder window will instantly switch to showing Spotlight search results. There is a "Save" button for you to save your search results to something called the Smart Folder, and a "+" button to add filtering options.

You can add multiple filters to a search result. For example, if you want to search for photos associated with "lake" that is taken within last two years using an Olympus camera, you can add the filters in the order of "Kind", "Created" and "Device make".

Smart use of "Smart Folder"

If I were to grudge about Spotlight in Finder, it would the arrangement whereby search filters are hidden from the user until the user starts punching stuff into the Search box.

The work-around method is to always keep Smart folder at the Finder sidebar, and name it so something general, like "Search".
Whenever you want to set up filters before doing an actual search, you can open the general Smart Folder and the filters are already your service right away.

Yet another Mac tip is on the Web!

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