Tips, Cheat Sheet, Spotlight Search


Found at – a great start of tips.

No mentioning of any special use of ‘!’, exclamation mark – so why do I seem to have issues, especially on Ventura…….


The Spotlight Search Tips Cheat Sheet for Mac

Discover how to find files faster, track flights and stock prices, convert currencies, and do a lot more with Spotlight on macOS.

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Spotlight is one of the easiest ways to launch files, folders, apps, and more on your Mac. You can bring it up with a keyboard shortcut (Cmd + Space) or by clicking on the magnifying glass icon in the menu bar.

This native macOS feature also comes in handy when you want to look up definitions of words, get sports scores, track flights, do basic math, and retrieve all kinds of information in a snap. And thanks to natural language support, using Spotlight feels intuitive and effortless.

If you’re eager to discover the best tricks Spotlight is capable of, our cheat sheet below can help.

The cheat sheet includes keyboard shortcuts that work in Spotlight and special attributes you can use to filter data faster. You’ll also discover how to use Boolean operators, natural language, and various in-built Spotlight tools to access just the data you need in a few keystrokes.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The Spotlight Search Tips Cheat Sheet for Mac.

The Spotlight Search Tips Cheat Sheet for Mac


Shortcut Action
Cmd + Space Open Spotlight
¹keyword(s) Display results for search term with first result highlighted and its preview in right-hand pane
“keywords” or “phrase” Display exact matches
²“as” Display App Store as top result
²“pc” Display Parental Controls as top result
Return (Enter) Open selected item
Double-click result Open selected item
Down Arrow Select result below
Up Arrow Select result above
³Tab Select first item in preview pane
⁴Cmd Display Finder location of selected result at bottom of preview pane
Right Arrow Autocomplete search keyword using the suggested/selected result
Cmd + Down Arrow Jump to first result in next category
Cmd + Up Arrow Jump to first result in previous category
Cmd + L Jump to definition in results
Cmd + R Open result in Finder or relevant app if applicable
Cmd + Return (Enter) Open result in Finder or relevant app if applicable
Cmd + I Open Get Info pane for result
Cmd + B Look up search term using default search engine in default browser
Cmd + C Copy item
Drag result to Finder window or desktop Copy item
Double-click Show all in Finder in results list 
View all results in Finder
Hover over preview for audio/video result Reveal Play button to play result in preview
Two-finger scroll over preview Reveal scroll bar
Drag search box Move Spotlight to reposition it
Esc Clear search box
Cmd + Delete Clear search box
Option + Cmd + Space Open Finder search window with search box selected
⁵Search Using Metadata Attributes
from:Name Created or sent by Name
by:Name Created or sent by Name
author:Name Created by Name
to:Name Addressed to Name
title:Title_Name With title Title_Name
tag:TagName With tag Tag_Name
date:DD/MM/YY From DD/MM/YY
created:DD/MM/YY Created on DD/MM/YY
modified:DD/MM/YY Modified on DD/MM/YY
⁶comment:keyword Comment contains keyword
kind:app kind:application(s) ⁷Apps
kind:audio Audio
kind:bookmark(s) Bookmarks
kind:event(s) Calendar events
kind:contact(s) Contacts
kind:document(s) Documents
kind email(s) kind: mail message(s) Emails
kind:folder(s) Folders
kind:font(s) Fonts
kind:image(s), kind:jpeg, kind:png Images
kind:movie(s) Movies
kind:music Music
kind:pdf(s) PDF
kind:preferences kind:system preferences Preferences
kind:presentation(s) Presentations
kind:reminder(s) Reminders
kind:pages Pages documents
kind:numbers Numbers spreadsheets
kind:keynote Keynote presentations
⁸Search Using Boolean Operators
keyword 1 AND keyword 2 Results with keyword 1 and keyword 2
keyword 1 OR keyword 2 Results with keyword 1 or keyword 2
keyword 1 NOT keyword 2 Results with keyword 1 but not keyword 2
keyword 1 -keyword 2 Results with keyword 1 but not keyword 2
⁹Find local businesses coffee
places to eat
“apple store”
Get time zone information “time in Sydney”
Get weather information “weather” for local weather
“weather in Mumbai”
Look up definitions keyword
Convert temperatures “302kelvins in f”
Convert measurements “52 pounds to kilograms”
Convert currencies “600gbp in usd”
Get math calculations “234/5*6”
Get real-time sports scores “cricket scores” “lakers game”
Get stock prices “sbux” for SBUX or Starbucks Corporation
See what’s playing at local theaters showtimes or movie times
Get movie details and showtimes “men in black”
Track flights “WN3536” or “southwest 3536”
¹⁰Play songs without opening iTunes “waka waka”
Search Using Natural Language
emails i received today
photos from yesterday
files from this week
messages from last week
screenshots i took last month
last year photos
unread emails
pictures i took in june
documents i created in 2019
“spreadsheets from tim”
“presentations from ben”
¹Keyword(s) can be in title of Finder item or within content. ²Speed up search for apps and System Preferences panes by typing in their initials. Works with third-party apps also. ³Works with folders only. Preview pane items can be enclosed files or subfolders. ⁴Works with local results only. ⁵Can be used with or without keywords. ⁶Searches for Finder items with keyword in Comments section of Get Info pane. ⁷Without this filter, searching for an app name also reveals files recently used in app and matching apps in Mac App Store. ⁸Can be used with metadata attributes. Eg: kind:document date:25/08/19-31/08/19 NOT 28/08/19 ⁹Look under Maps category for relevant results. Does not work with all emojis. ¹⁰Hover over relevant track in preview to reveal Play button. Note: 1. Feature availability might vary based on country. 2. Visit System Preferences > Spotlight to toggle visibility of Spotlight categories.

Let Spotlight Find What You’re Looking For

Searching with Spotlight is one of the good habits you should get used to as a Mac user. It’s also among the best productivity tips we recommend for your Mac.