8 Replies Latest reply: Sep 3, 2013 12:15 PM by rakshay
_daniel_ Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)


I recently upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion.


In Snow Leopard, I could use the search/Spotlight to find both filenames and contents (there used to be switch between "filename" and "content" views in the Spotlight search results window).

Now, Spotlight apparently only looks for filenames.

How can I re-anble it to also look into the content of the files? There is no option to set this in the Spotlight preferences...

Thank you

Mac Book Pro, iMac, iPhone, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • LousyFool Level 4 Level 4 (2,640 points)

    You can tell from this doc that Apple disagrees: Spotlight should find content as well.


    Maybe this will help.

  • _daniel_ Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Hi Lousy,

    Thank you for the reply!

    But that's not it:


    Turns out, that instead of having a button to let you switch between "content" and "filename" in the search results (Snow Leopard), you now (Mountain Lion) have to click at the very right hand corner below the search field in the search result view in order to bring up advanced search features where you can narrow it down with content-only, filename-only or other exclusion criteria.


    I liked the old way better because of less clicks/more obvious location, but anyway, function is indeed still there...


    Best wishes

  • LousyFool Level 4 Level 4 (2,640 points)

    _daniel_ wrote:


    But that's not it:


    Well, that was it. The doc behind this link I provided in my previous post describes the same what you are saying, only with slightly different words:

    Also, you can click the Add button located on the right side of the search window below the search field to narrow down search results. For example, choose Contents for your search to include the contents of the files, or choose Name to have your search apply only to the name of your files.

    To make more choices available in the search criteria pop-up menu, choose Other and select the checkbox for each attribute you want to add or use the search field to quickly locate an attribute. For example, to be able to search copyright information, select the Copyright checkbox in the list of attributes and click OK. Add or remove search criteria as needed by clicking Add or Delete (–).

    They even throw in a screenshot. Guess you didn't (want to) read it, but so it goes... not much time I wasted.


    Other than that, I agree: "Progress" is relative -- more choices, but also more clicks...

  • _daniel_ Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Touche! I actually meant the rebuilding of the index, that was what I tried after your post and it did not really change anything... I thought it a technical issue not a, erm, user interface improvement issue that the switch buttons are gone


    In addition, I also had another issue on my side, i.e. my first Mountain Lion search was in a folder full of PDF files that did not have a PDF file extension. Spotlight did not index their contents at all, apparently, and I could not find a word I was 100% sure is in several of the files. That is why I did not get content, only filename search results, and thought Spotlight is seriously broken. After a bulk renaming .pdf the files, they are now indexed by Spotlight, all good...

  • LousyFool Level 4 Level 4 (2,640 points)

    _daniel_ wrote:


    Touche! I actually meant the rebuilding of the index, that was what I tried after your post and it did not really change anything...

    "First step first": Clicking the first link would indeed have been it. The second was to provide extra help in case you still can't find stuff with Spotlight.


    Just mentioning it because it is a bit frustrating: I'm not always right, but once you provide a solution and people decide to skip it and start further down the list... well, what do they expect. Duh.

  • Barney-15E Level 8 Level 8 (44,200 points)

    You can default to a filename search in the Finder by holding down the control key when selecting Find (cmd-ctrl-F).

  • _daniel_ Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Thank you, Barney.

    I played a bit with this and found a second way to do this: after typing the search term in the Spotlight search box in Finder, but before pressing Enter to execute the search, you can also press the Down key and you will have the option to restrict to filename only (the default is content). After doing this, a 'dropdown menu' appears in the beginning of the Spotlight search box, which can be switched between Name (filenname) or Everything (content). This is essentially what happens with the above shortcut.

  • rakshay Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Turns out you can use

    name: "your terms here" (or ommit the "" to find any of the terms)

    thanks for the CTRL+CMD+F tip!

    personally, I prefer the earlier style with a button on the toolbar better.

    (Don't flame me, I got the name: thing from my use of Windows 7)