Thursday, June 6, 2019

MacOS hint: better cmd-space living through restricting what Spotlight searches

I'm messing with having the Dock autohide. I used to have strong feelings about the utility of the dock vs taskbar but now I realize the Dock is just taking up precious screen space and not offering much value, since I use Spotlight (aka "cmd-space") to launch everything, and usually cmd-tab to get back to open apps.

But I was a little irritated with the sheer amount of crap Spotlight was searching - I never think of it as a "document management tool", just an app launcher, so the plethora of obscure stuff it would present for a text search was a bit distracting.

Bob on The Lost In Mobile WhatsApp crew pointed out you can go to System Preferences | Spotlight and weed that down to something more reasonable:
Even here, the sheer number of options seems to point to some level of categorical confusion. Like, Calculator isn't an app? (oh, I see- I think it's the ability to type in a simple math problem.) Or "PDF Documents" and "Spreadsheets" are a separate category than "Documents".

It's interesting how Spotlight (and its equivalent from the start menu in Windows) is so powerful. In a way it seems like retrograde, like a return to the command line for everything, but it combines the fluidity of typing with the multitasking of modern computers, and the sensible and forgiving autocompletion of, say, a recent browser's Address bar...

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