Mac OS X Tip: Change the .app name and Spotlight

Discussion in 'macOS' started by zeemeerman2, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. zeemeerman2 macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2010
    Have you ever had an application with a medium-complex name, especially for what it is used for. You don't need the application often, but when you do, and are want to search for it with Spotlight, but can't remember the name. If that application had a simpler name, it was much easier to find.

    For example, I use Pipette, a replacement for Digital Color Meter at Lion, that gives the hexadecimal code of a color from a specified pixel.
    Here is the code for one of the pixels of the close button.

    Pipette, while not extremely hard to remember, if you only need it maybe once a month, it's a name that's quite easy to forget. Therefore, we can change the name.


    Changing the application name to "", it's far easier to remember and it is a much more fitting name for what the application really does, to me. If you need a hexadecimal code from a color, what do you search for anyway?

    Now, if I want to search in Spotlight, ...

    You can see very easily that you can find it in Spotlight. This works with most non-Apple, non-App Store applications, though you might need to do a restart to make it effective.

    Be warned that there are exceptions. For example, if you change World of Warcraft to "", or anything else, World of Warcraft's Launcher application can't find the game so you can't play it. Though you can change the Launcher's application name itself.

    Well, that's my tip to share with you. You may comment for feedback. Did I miss anything? Have a tip to share yourself which I didn't know? A happy new year everyone. Blessed be.

  2. Simplicated macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    This feature still exists in the same app in Lion, but now relocated to View -> Display Values -> as Hexadecimal.
  3. r0k, Jan 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012

    r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Many apps have auto-updaters and every time they update you would have to do your renaming again. Perhaps a better solution is to create an alias which you give any name you like. Another solution, in terminal is as follows:

    cd /Applications
    ln -s
    This creates a symbolic link that makes it appear as if there are two apps, one called and another called Both could be launched from spotlight, but is really just a "symbolic link" to

    The advantage to doing this in the terminal is that you aren't modifying in any way and when gets updated or overwritten, the sym link just keeps on working (as long as the name doesn't change).

    This sort of thing used to drive me crazy on windows when apps installed themselves in folders based on some randomness like the name of the parent company so you'd wind up with something line "adserve solutions/quickdraw." Now why in the heck should I be looking in an alphabatized list under "A" for a program whose name begins with "Q?" The think I like about spotlight is it recognizes fractions of words and not just the starting character so even those handful of apps that install themselves in company branded folders in /Applications are easy to find if I remember a few characters of the title of the software.
  4. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Classic Color Meter is a function for function remake of the Snow Leopard Color Meter for Lion.

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