Tip: Copy search results directly from Spotlight

The Spotlight search results offer more options than just opening a located item.

The Spotlight in OS X can be useful for finding applications to launch, documents, images, and many other items in your user account that you might wish to access. Pressing Command-Space bar will invoke Spotlight, where a simple search term or two will bring up relevant results, which can then be previewed or opened directly.

In addition to these actions, you can also copy Spotlight's search results simply by dragging items off of the list to a location of your choice. This may be useful in a number of ways:

  • Duplicate a found item to a desired location in the Finder.
  • Embed a searched item in a program that supports drag-and-drop embedding, such as Word, Pages, Mail, and others.
  • Make a quick link to the searched item in the Dock

Unfortunately you cannot move items to a new location using Spotlight; to do this you will have to reveal the item (hold the Command key when clicking the item to open it), and then move it.

However, if you wish to create an alias of the original item instead of copying it, you can do so by holding the Command and Option keys when dragging the item from the Spotlight list. When you do this, the green plus next to the mouse cursor (indicating a "copy") will change to the curved arrow indicating an alias will be created.



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    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

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