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Apple Mac OS X tips and tweaks

Date: 26th October 2010

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Use Spotlight when saving files

Sometimes you can use an operating system or application for ages before you spot something obvious. This may be the case with the following tip and it's obvious once you have used it, but it's something that you may not have realised before now. When you save a file for the first time or use Save As to give it a new name, the Save dialog has a search box on the top right near the top. (There are two Save dialogs and you have to click the down-arrow button at the right of the filename box to expand it and see the search box.) This search box is Spotlight and it can be used to find folders on the system.

Suppose you want to save a document in your Work folder, but you can't remember where the Work folder is. Is it a subfolder of Documents or your home folder or somewhere else? All you need to do is to type 'Work' into the Spotlight box in the Save dialog and it will be listed so you can open it and save the document. There is no need to hunt all round the disk for it and one quick search and you're there.

You'll see a Search toolbar displayed above the results list and you can choose to search This Mac, your Home folder, or the Current folder. You can search for a filename or file contents. Using these controls you'll quickly find the right folder to save your document. It's simple, it's obvious, but have you tried it? You'll save time and effort once you master it.

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