1984 – the techblog

(Hopefully) useful various sysadmin and other stuff.

Hidden Gems: Boolean Spotlight Queries

By now, any decent user of Mac OS X will know and have used Spot­light. Maybe loved, maybe hated it (I’m slowly com­ing to terms with it). In clas­sic Apple fash­ion, it’s dead sim­ple to use and needs only a text input field, where you enter what­ever comes to mind when you’re look­ing for that spe­cific thing (or droids). How­ever, with all things that sim­ple, you most often receive a bit too much noise (Google comes to mind).

I recently dis­cov­ered that Spot­light does accept a bit more com­plex search terms, one can add boolean oper­a­tors liek 1 like AND, OR and (heh) NOT.

That alone isn’t that spec­tac­u­lar, but as I was delv­ing into Spotlight’s Frame­work 2 (some nasty debug­ging), I learned that some pro­gram­mers at Apple even went so far as to local­ize the oper­a­tors as well! And it does work, Spot­light didn’t care wether I input NOT/NICHT, and AND/UND, or OR/ODER 3, but it only accepts the local­ized oper­a­tors when the user lan­guage has been set accordingly.


  1. herd mud­kip?
  2. Can be found at /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/Metadata.framework/
  3. I should really quit with these bad lan­guage puns.

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