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How to use Search Tokens in OS X Mountain Lion – Tutorial

Learn to use Search Tokens - a fast and effective way of finding what you’re looking for on your Mac

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With the launch of OS X Lion last year, Apple brought with it a new way to search your Mac. Search Tokens are now present in Finder, letting you search for specific files, photos and folders, as well as certain file types. However, the biggest strength of the tokens is in the ability to combine them to create a number of ‘rules’ for your search. The process of combining a filename and a filetype, for example, can narrow down a list of files from hundreds to just two, so that you can find files faster and more efficiently.

But these functions aren’t limited to Finder; apps like Mail also make use of it, and with a little extra knowledge you can also use it with Spotlight to find exactly what you want without needing to open an extra Finder window. It’s one of the best features of Lion and Mountain Lion, so read on to find out exactly how to use it…

1: Search bar

In the top-right of the Finder window sits the search bar. In Lion it has received an upgrade to let you combine search terms for more accurate results.

2: Start typing

As soon as you start typing, the results will appear in the Finder window below. As you type more the search results will be instantly narrowed down.

3: Drop-down

Depending on what you type into the search box, the menu will show different options. If you’re too specific, you will be limited to a filename only.

4: Token specifications

Press Enter and the token will appear. You can click the small downward arrow to change the search’s specificity from name to every part of the file.

5: Extra tokens

Adding extra tokens helps you to narrow the search. For example, you can add both a filename and a filetype to your search to rule out different files.

6: Mail

The new search also works in Mail. You can start typing in a name, the email’s subject, or even a part of the message itself to find what you’re looking for.

7: Specificity

Much like Finder, use the drop-down menu to change between different search types. The first two are specific, while the latter searches the lot.

8: Spotlight

Spotlight is a fantastic way to search your Mac, and it also has the ability to define what you’re looking for. Spotlight searches everything on your system.

9: Kinds and Dates

You can type ‘kind:’ or ‘date:’ followed by a filetype or number and only view files within those parameters. You can type in more words if you wish.

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