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Minimal Spotlight Configuration

The best feature for any new mac user is probably Spotlight. It provides a simplify experience to locate and run files and applications. It can be fast or slow depending on how we configure it. A decent and “just enough” configuration can lead to a better experience with Spotlight.

Let’s start by limiting the search results. There are many items that the Spotlight will show you if you never set a limit to the search result. By default, it displays all categories of items in the search result. It can cause the overload of search result which cause annoyance. Try to search using Spotlight and you can see a “Spotlight Preferences” at the bottom of the result.

There are 14 categories that the Spotlight display. As for me, I usually use Spotlight to run application, searching for presentation slide, and look for folder. As you can see the picture below, this is the configuration.

Spotlight Search Result

Remember that it is relative for each person. List out what you usually search with Spotlight and you should be to decide easily.

Limiting the Limited

You should be able to tell the difference immediately. But, wait! Try to search using keyword like “xml” or “html”. Most of the the files under the system folder are like that. So, we are going to limit the Spotlight by not telling it to index these types of folder.

If you click the privacy panel, you can prevent Spotlight from searching some folders. In the picture below, I deliberately prevent it to search system folder where there are many files I don’t use. You need to do testing to find out which folder you want to prevent it from Spotlight search scope.

Spotlight Privacy Panel

What if you have a lot of folders that you want to prevent it from Spotlight’s search scope?

Finder Folder Display

I put all the folders I don’t want Spotlight to search into one folder called “Firewall”. By doing so, you don’t need to put many folders in Spotlight Privacy Preferences. Instead, you can drag all the folders into that Firewall folder. I only make the name for fun, you can use any name that can describe the function better.

There are many applications that can do better than Spotlight. But I never find these applications useful since I only use Spotlight for searching and running applications. Installing another applications is redundant to me, that’s why I always try to leverage existed applications instead of using third party applications. If you find this post useful, tweet it or share it with your friends.