Shining a Light on Spotlight


Clicking the magnifying glass found in the upper right-hand corner of your Mac can open a whole new world of information.  You can find apps,  documents, and other files on your machine, as well as information about news, sports, movies, weather and more.

Search by file type or location

  • To search by file type, use the word “kind” and the file type. For example, type “kind:docx”. 
  • To copy a file, drag it from the results list to the desktop or a Finder window.
  • To see the location of a file listed in the results list, highlight the file, then press and hold the Command key. The file’s location appears at the bottom of the preview. 
  • To go to the file location in Finder, press Command-R.
  • To see all the results from your Mac in Finder, scroll to the bottom of the results list, then double-click “Show all in Finder.”

Get definitions, calculations, and conversions

Spotlight can show you dictionary definitions, calculations, measurement conversions, and more. 

  • To get a definition, enter a word or phrase, then click the result in the Definition section.
  • To get a calculation, enter something like “756*17.56”.
  • To convert measurements, enter something like 25 lbs or “32 ft to meters”.
  • To convert currencies, enter something like $100, £100, or ¥100. 
  • To convert temperatures, enter something like 98.8F or 32C. 

Find movie showtimes, weather, and nearby places

You can use Spotlight to search for movie showtimes, weather, and places near you. 

  • To get showtimes for movies playing near you, enter “showtimes.”
  • To get local weather information, enter “weather.”
  • To find restaurants near you, enter something like “places to eat,” then click a result in the Maps section.

I hope you enjoy the illumination of Spotlight!

Joey Nessif