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This chapter is from the book

A Little Help With More Complicated Searches

Spotlight’s ability to do some rather complex searches is great, but getting the terms, colon, spaces, and file types right can be tough. (For example, kind:jpg gives you zip, but kind:jpeg works. Or kind:il gives you all your Adobe Illustrator files, but kind:ai finds nothing—even though the suffix for Illustrator files is AI. Things like that drive me crazy.) When you get to the point that you’re ready to give up and go watch a chick flick on Oxygen for a couple of hours, use a different strategy. Start by pressing Command-Option-Spacebar to open a Spotlight window. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about—I’ll bet you’ve got over 10,000 results already. Now that you’ve put the TV remote down, click the plus sign (+) button at the far-right end of the location bar. Now go to the plus sign button that’s on the bar you just added, but instead of clicking it, Option-click it. You’ll notice the plus sign changes to an ellipses (...) and two additional search bars are added. What you’re looking at is a way to do Boolean searches by clicking menus and pressing buttons instead of typing in file types, colons, and the other stuff. It’s a bit clunky (the official technical term, I believe), but it can make things a lot easier sometimes. Here’s the trick: To stay in the same search level, click the plus sign button to add your criteria. To nest criteria, Option-click the plus sign button. The example you see here is a search I’ve saved to have instant access to my travel itineraries for this year. I want to find any PDF created this year whose name contains at least one of the following words: “hotel,” “flight,” or “boarding.” The best way to learn is to play with it.

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