When you need to find anything located on your Mac, you can use the Spotlight search field in the upper-right corner of the window or menu to locate it fast and easily. Here is how to customize this option.
Open Spotlight by clicking the apple in the upper-left corner of your desktop and then select “System Preferences.” In the box, along the top row, select “Spotlight.”
When the Spotlight box opens, you’ll see two tabs near the top. Select the “Search Results” tab. You also see a list of locations in the box below. Next, look through the locations list and checkmark the places you want searched and remove the checkmark for those locations you want to leave out from future searches. You can also change the order of the search results by clicking, holding and dragging the items in the order you desire.
At the bottom, you can customize keyboard shortcuts for your searching. Click the drop-down menu and make your choice for each. If a yellow alert triangle appears next to the drop-down box, it means this shortcut is already in use by another app. You can click the yellow triangle to view all the shortcut preferences in use on your Mac.
Now, click the “Privacy” tab near the top. Here is where you can add a folder or disk to this list so it is excluded from searches. To do this, click the “+” sign at the bottom and in the browse box that opens, select the folder or disk you want to exclude and then select the “Choose” button. Do this for each item you want skipped in the searching. You can also drag folders to the open box to add to the privacy list. If you add something to the location list and then want to remove it, highlight the item from list and then click the “-” sign at the bottom and it will be removed. Once you have made your choices, select the red button at the top-left to close the Spotlight box.
For 14 years, Scott Lindsay has helped tens of thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 250 articles about the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@Live.com.