4 Extremely useful things Spotlight on your Mac lets you do

Sometimes, even a Spotlight deserves a spotlight.

Screenshot 2020 08 26 at 5.30.58 PM

Let’s rewind to 2005 when macOS Leopard used to be cool in the macOS universe. That’s when the “Spotlight” feature was added into macOS with the intention that it would be the most frequently used feature. Well, it could not be any truer!

Spotlight is basically a native desktop search feature on macOS. It is used to search any of your files all over your device and beyond. By beyond we mean, yes, you guessed it right, internet searches as well. It can be used as a search bar for the questions that you ask Google and be redirected to Google search results itself.

Spotlight can show you your desired file, definitions of words, and even do minimal calculations on the search bar!

Let’s have a look at the different things you can use “Spotlight” for. It’s important to note that there is a slight change in the looks of Spotlight on macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina and earlier. Despite that, most of the features work perfectly on both versions.

Shortcut to Spotlight

You can access Spotlight by pressing the command + spacebar key together. Since Spotlight is a feature you might use a lot, this keyboard combination is the quickest way to summon it.

article imac 3 img 1
Shortcut for Spotlight

Calculator function 

article imac3 spotlight4
An example of how spotlight can be used as a simple calculator

This is one of the most underrated functions of the spotlight is that it can do simple calculations on the spotlight search bar itself. You can make use of these symbols for operations:

  • Addition (+)
  • Subtraction (-)
  • Multiplication (*)
  • Division (/)

You can use the above symbols for any required operations and like a mini calculator, use the spotlight for simple calculations!

Currency Converter

article imac spotlight4
An example of how spotlight can be used for currency convertor

Web search

Spotlight also acts as a search bar for anything and takes you to the webpage of your search engine along with what you searched, basically acting like a native search engine of the device which is connected to the net.

You can search literally anything on your spotlight it will eventually redirect you to your respective search engine i.e. Google Chrome/Firefox/Safari.

Custom searches 

You can select what you want to see on the search list. Basically just filtering the search into selective categories, for example, if you only want images, documents, and applications to be searched, you can get selective.

You can customize this all by yourself, here is how you can do it:

  • Step 1 – Head over to “System Preferences” 
  • Step 2 – Click on “Spotlight
  • Step 3 – Here, under “search results” you can get various categories and a checkbox next to each category. This is where one can customize as to what search results in he/she wants the spotlight to look into!

Final Thoughts

The spotlight feature is a gem for most of us as it does many tasks at the tip of a button and is super easy to use. It solves all your doubts from checking if you have lost a file or understanding rocket science. It comes handy for many things that most of us have to go on the net(currency converter) or open up an application for calculations (calculator function).

For all those who haven’t yet made enough use of a spotlight, its time. You can also check out our previous Mac guide on how to use Picture-in-Picture video on the Mac to distract yourself from your boring 9-to-5 job.