Spotlight and Search Tips

This meeting was held on Friday 10th April 2015. We discussed iTranslate Voice and the latest news. The presentation covered Spotlight and other Mac OS search applications.


We discussed the recent Apple news including the opening of Apple Watch pre-orders, several members have already taken the plunge and ordered a watch!

Robert also mentioned the new biography Becoming Steve Jobs which has been praised by Apple.

iTranslate Voice

David K demonstrated iTranslate Voice, an iPhone and iPad app that can translate your speech into another language and speak the result. The app can be used to communicate with someone with no common language as it is able to also translate and speak their response. The free version, linked here, supports a limited number of languages and spoken translations.

Search Tips

Robert gave a presentations on Spotlight, the search feature built into Mac OS, and also highlighted a number of other handy search utilities:


Robert’s Spotlight tips included:

  • Type the initials of an application with a long name to find and start it. For example, typing “faf” will find “Find any File”.
  • With a file selected in the Spotlight window, hold the command key to display the file’s location (path).
  • You can use boolean operators such as AND, OR and NOT to refine your search.
  • Use the kind: option to search for only specific types of file.
  • Spotlight preferences can be used to change the order of search results and to disable specific result types.
  • Remember that you can show search results in Finder to get more options and to save it as a smart folder.

Find any File

Find any File searches filenames and attributes only but it searches everywhere on your Mac (including places Spotlight omits), there’s even the option to search other user accounts if you are an administrator (hold Option when you click Find). It has a very useful results window with a hierarchical results list that lets you home in on results in certain areas and filter out unwanted items.

The application is available on the Mac App Store and an unrestricted version (which the author asks you to pay for if you continue to use) is available on the developer’s web site.


This free utility from the makers of Devon Think also searches in places that Spotlight does not. It can search the content of files and has a self-contained one window interface. A very powerful set of boolean operators are available for complex searches.

EasyFind can be downloaded from the Devon Technologies web site.


GrandPerspective is not a general search utility, instead it is designed to help you find files which are using a lot of space on your Mac. It does this by first scanning your hard disk (which can take a while) and then producing a graphical display which represents each file as a rectangle. The area of each rectangle is proportional to the file’s size. Files in the same folder are grouped together, this means you can easily pick out large files and find their location.

GrandPerspective is free and open source.

Here’s a YouTube video from ChrisTheAppleOne showing how it works: