Help - Spotlight search results does not show filesize, location, etc

Discussion in 'macOS' started by bithead, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. bithead macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2008
    Hello (and HELP!!!),

    I just moved to the mac about a month ago and have been overall very happy but honestly I have been more then frustrated with Spotlight. Hopefully someone can shed some light on how to do resolve this:

    When I search with Spotlight it seems to find the file(s) in question just fine but the results that are returned are very limiting. I would like to see things like filesize, location/path, owner, creation date, creation time, etc within the results window. I have tried all three: Cmd + F, Find in Finder and the Spotlight "Show All" menu option. I know you can "Get Info" or hover over a specific file but that is not an option when I'm doing large searches though source directories I often run into files that have the exact same name, are just in different locations.

    Also, in my research here I seem to find little tidbits scattered here and there about all the things you can do with spotlight but is there an authoritative source for all the search syntaxes that are available?

    I'm using Leopard 10.5.6 on a MacBook Pro.

    Thanks for your help!!!
  2. pendolino macrumors member


    Feb 13, 2007
    * congrats on switching to mac.
    * i've also been annoyed at not having spotlight how-to's in one place and have had to cobble together info on my local PC that i rarely use to be honest although i may refer to from time to time.
    * check out an app called 'houdah spot' i think as it makes searches much more intuitive and i believe the display is better. i think its a paid app though with trial. ( i just paused to check it and i'm wondering why i myself have not been using it more :)
    * there are many more apps that help you use spotlight better and avoid the system's finder interface that is lacking at the moment.
  3. bithead thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2008
    Yeh, it was really surprising that a feature they have touted so much is so poorly documented. Luckly I'm very solid on UNIX and I have just been using the command line for detailed searches, but that's still out of necessity. They really need to revamp the spotlight results interface and describe the features more completely. Honestly, I'm seeing little things like this all over (in respect to the Mac).

    I will try the app you are talking about. But recently, I have been playing with Path Finder. Wow, Apple should hire this guy!!! He has got it down. It's an amazing app that really just runs circles around the built-in Finder, and adds the columns and info that I was looking for with Spotlight. I'm not sure it uses spotlight perse but what ever "search" logic it uses is very nice.

  4. macuser5555 macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2008
    In the results window you will get the file name, type, the owner and the path. Hold your mouse cursor over the filename and the info will show in an avatar bubble. Spotlight is far from limiting, don't forget it has a dictionary and calculator all in the search window. It's an application search/launcher, I don't see the need for file size info in the results window.
  5. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    Pathfinder is great...BUT you have to pay for it.
  6. bithead thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2008
    Macuser5555: I think you really hit on something... I agree, it is not "limited". It does do a lot of "things" (as I said the underlying technology seems very good) but it's user interface has a number of things left to be desired for managing search results. For people that are really doing "power" searches (developers, like me) I need to be able to sort on file types, timestamps, size, full path locations, etc... it really doesn't cut it. And finder is limited too (I won't go there). I think the apps like Path Finder and Houdahspot (thanks pendolino!!!) are exactly what the Mac needs - a simple interface for the people that need it, an advanced interface those that need that. You should really check the videos at either PathFinders site (

    or at Houdahspot's site:

    Both are great and really show what the Mac is capable of. I haven't decided which one I will go with yet though. PathFinder is a bit more complete where Houdahspot is dedicated to searching. But these are exactly what I'm talking about.

    And as for cost, yes it is a bit of a shame but really, neither of these are actually expensive and if you need it and use it, that's that. It's just a shame that you have to go out of your way to buy this stuff in the first place.
  7. pendolino macrumors member


    Feb 13, 2007
    bithead - you're welcome.

    not to digress too much but the great thing about Apple is the development community built around OSX and i think part of the credit goes to Apple for developing the tools that enable this innovation without trying to cram it down like other OS platforms try to do. this, i think, is the real mac edge and not the cool designs, etc although those get people to try it.

    i am also amazed at the ability to drag and drop to do almost anything with mac apps almost intuitively. if it makes sense, it can probably be done.

    houdahspot i have just replaced spotlight with (by swapping the shortcuts to make it easy) and am getting used to it but search by name and options included in the panel do make it worthwhile.

    finally, i have pathfinder version 4 but found it to be too heavy for everyday use (and im a heavy user too) so reverted back to the native finder. i may try v5 but what's holding me back is that its a paid upgrade. i did find the interface too cluttered and confusing to get my head around at times.

    any further comments from pathfinder users would be appreciated especially usage style, etc.

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