macOS High Sierra

Search with Spotlight

Spotlight can find apps, documents, photos, and other files on your Mac, and can use Spotlight Suggestions to show flight status information, news, sports, movies, stocks, weather, and more from sources like the web, Maps, and iTunes. Spotlight can even get conversions, calculations, and definitions for you.

The Spotlight menu showing an example search with search results.

Tip: You can drag the Spotlight window anywhere on the desktop and make it bigger.

Open Spotlight and search

  • Open Spotlight: Click the Spotlight icon in the upper-right corner of the menu bar, or press Command-Space bar.

    If it’s your first time using Spotlight, a description is shown in the Spotlight window. Just start typing in the search field where it says Spotlight Search.

  • Enter a search phrase: Start typing what you want to find—results appear as you type; you don’t need to press Return.

    • You can find files on your Mac by typing what you’re looking for in the same way you’d say it. For example, you could search by typing “california photos” or “emails from kelly.”

      Ask Siri. Say something like: “Show my emails from Bob”  Learn more about Siri.

    • You can find things on the web and in the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or App Store. For example, you can get results for weather, sports, stocks, or flight status or transit information. Search for music, movies, books, apps, nearby stores and landmarks, and more.

      Ask Siri. Say something like: “What’s the weather today?”

  • Open an app: Type the name of the app, such as Preview, then press Return.

    Ask Siri. Say something like: “Open FaceTime”

View and use search results

  • Open an item: Select the item in the results list on the left, then press the Return key. Or double-click the item.

  • Use a preview: Click items or links in the preview on the right. For example, to hear a song in your iTunes playlist, click the Play button next to the song. Or to purchase tickets for a movie playing near you, click the movie times.

  • Show the location of a file on your Mac: Select the file in the results list, then press and hold the Command key to show the file’s location at the bottom of the preview.

  • Copy an item: Drag a file from the results list to the desktop or a Finder window.

  • See files recently used in an app: Enter the app’s name (don’t press the Return key unless you want to open the app). To open a file, double-click it in the preview.

  • Make a desktop shortcut to an item: Drag the item from the results list to the desktop; just click it on the desktop to open the item in the appropriate app, such as Safari.

  • See all results from your Mac in the Finder: Scroll to the bottom of the results list, then double-click Show all in Finder. You can narrow the results in Finder.

Get conversions, calculations, and definitions

Ask Siri. Say something like: “How many centimeters in an inch?” or “What does parboil mean?” Learn more about Siri.

  • Convert currencies: Enter an amount to see the equival