This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2011-09-15 at 7:38 p.m.
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New Take Control Ebook Helps You Find Anything on Your Mac

by Adam C. Engst

Long-time Mac expert Sharon Zardetto has now illuminated one of Mac OS X’s shadowy corners: Spotlight searching. In her latest book, “Take Control of Spotlight for Finding Anything on Your Mac [1],” she explains how to use Spotlight in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion to find almost anything on a Mac — files, folders, contacts, appointments, songs, or even pictures of a particular size — no matter where they are hidden. Most importantly, this new 158-page ebook reveals the secret grammar behind Spotlight searches so you can search directly using Spotlight’s internal query language.

Sharon first explains how Spotlight indexes data, describes the concepts underlying Spotlight searches, and then illustrates the many ways one can start Spotlight searches, whether by way of the magnifying glass in the menu bar, the search field in Finder windows or the Open and Save dialogs, a keyboard shortcut, a contextual menu, or customized and saved searches that you can make for yourself. She then turns to how you can find exactly what you’re looking for, by employing keyword searches, multiple-criteria searches, Boolean searches, and more.

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Remember, searches aren’t just about finding lost files, they’re also useful for selecting a set of matching files to work on. For instance, we’ve used Spotlight to identify which photos in a folder are small thumbnails or which of our ebooks lack a certain phrase. You can even do things like find every GarageBand song in the key of E-flat.

Readers of “Take Control of Spotlight for Finding Anything on Your Mac [3]” will learn essential search-related techniques, including how to:

In addition, you will discover how to make files even easier to find with these techniques:

In these days of terabyte drives, your Mac has enormous storage capacity, and you may have many thousands of files squirreled away (we don’t even want to admit to how many hundreds of thousands of files are filling up our disks!). But with the expertise you’ll gain from “Take Control of Spotlight for Finding Anything on Your Mac [4],” you’ll be able to retrieve whatever you need from your Mac, no matter how deeply it’s buried or how specific you need to make your search.