Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Find Files Faster with Keywords

Savvy web surfers know that web pages, blog entries, and images posted online are often tagged with keywords: terms that help identify and locate relevant content via web searches. These keywords might not even appear in the text or file names—they’re simply attached as metadata, so search engines can “see” them.

In a similar sense, you can use keywords on your Mac to help you find any file when conducting searches via Spotlight. In Mac OS X Leopard, you can add your own keywords to text documents, audio files, images, or any other type of file.

For example, let’s say you’ve received a PDF of the latest company newsletter, which features an amusing photo of your boss, Mo, and the CEO, Bill. You’ve saved the newsletter on your computer, and you’d like to be able to locate this document in future using a Spotlight search. But the names Mo and Bill don’t appear anywhere in the newsletter—instead, the two men are identified in the photo as Mauricio and William.

Fortunately, you can easily add the keywords “Mo” and “Bill” to the document yourself. Select the document in the Finder and choose Get Info from the File menu, or just type Command-I. At the top of the Get Info window that appears, there’s a blank field titled Spotlight Comments. (Click the disclosure triangle to reveal the data field if it’s not already visible.) Simply type your desired keywords here, separating the terms with commas, then close the Get Info window.

Now when you search for these keywords in Spotlight, your newly tagged file will appear.

Spotlight Keywords Screenshot Spotlight Keywords Screenshot

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