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Searching For Files And Folders Explained

Posted in Apple Inc

Have you ever wondered how you can quickly do a search on your computer for files and folders? Well wonder no more, because in this weeks edition of the Switching To A Mac series we will show you how to do just that. My friend and fellow team mate Damashe will show you how to perform a search on a Windows computer, and I will show you how to do the same thing on a Mac. So, sit back and read on to learn how to perform a search on your Windows/Mac computer.

Windows Search

The search feature of windows 7 is very robust and feature rich. It can be used to search your entire computer hard drive and even external storage devices. You are able to search for applications and all file types.
The quickest and easiest way to access the search in windows is by pressing the windows key, located two keys to the left of the spacebar. Pressing the windows key opens the start menu, and you are placed directly in a search field. Enter your search term in the box. Windows begins showing results as you type, for example, typing the letters sky will most likely have Skype as one of the search results. This is provided that Skype is installed on your computer. Jaws will read the first result displayed below the search field, and pressing enter will open this item as it is automatically selected.
You can also use the up and down arrow keys to move through the displayed results. One item at the bottom of the list of results will be show all results. Pressing enter on this option will launch a windows explorer window displaying all results matching your search term. It is worth noting that your results will be broken up in to categories, applications, music, documents, etc. If there are no results for a particular category, that category will not be shown.
Windows search also allows wildcard searches. For example, typing *.pdf will search your computer for all PDF files. You can also search a particular folder in windows. From within the folder you wish to search, use tab or shift+tab to move to the search field. Type in your search term and your results will be displayed in the explorer window.
Hopefully this quick overview will help make windows search a useful tool for navigating your system.

Spotlight Search On The Mac

The Spotlight Search feature on the Mac is very similar to Windows Search in many ways. With Spotlight Search you will be able to search your computers hard drive and external media for files and folders simply by typing the entire name of the item, or by just typing out some of the letters of the file.
Just as Windows Search will begin guessing as you begin to type the name of what you are looking for, Spotlight Search will do the same.

Here is how you begin a Spotlight Search on your Mac.

1. Press the shortcut key for performing a search which is the command key plus the spacebar. This will bring up a text field where you will type out your search. You can also per form the search from the Menus Extras by pressing VO+M twice, which will take you into the Menus Extras. Now locate the Spotlight Search menu item and press VO+spacebar.
2. Now begin typing your search. As you type if you pause for just a second or so VO will will announce a Top Hit. This is the item that the operating system thinks that you want. If the Top hit is not the item that you want you can either keep typing the name or you can arrow down through the rest of the suggestions.

You can also choose to show all the results in a Finder window by pressing VO+Spacebar on Show All In Finder.

3. Once you hear the item that you want to open simply press VO+Spacebar on that item and then it will open.

One thing that in my opinion makes the Search feature on a Mac stand out though is that you also have the chance to search the web or Wikipedia right from Spotlight Search.

But this is only the beginning. Spotlight Search is available from within any Finder window as well. To perform a search from a Finder window do the following:
1. Open a new Finder window by pressing Command+N.

2. Now move the VO cursor to the Toolbar and then interact with it.

3. Next, move the VO cursor to the Search text field and type out your search. A menu will come up with 2 options. They are,Filenames, or Name Matches. If you are searching for a specific file then choose Filenames, but if you want to search everything on your computer with the word that you type in the search field then choose Name Matches.

4. Now stop interacting with the toolbar and navigate to the browser portion of the Finder window. This is where you find the search results. Simply arrow through the results and then press VO+Spacebar on the one that you want to open.

With Spotlight Search on your Mac you can easily perform a search for files, folders, documents, music, movies, and much more. If it is on your hard drive or external media Spotlight Search will find it.

These are only a couple of ways of using Spotlight Search on your Mac, but as you can plainly see with the search feature on both the Windows and Mac platforms locating your files and folders is made very simple.

To learn how to get more out of your Apple technology, come on over to our Delivering Access Blog and read all about how to get things done on your Apple gear.