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Spotlight Search for macOS


Spotlight is the search function in Apples macOS operating system. Spotlight continually indexes the file system and search results are so fast they populate as you type. Spotlight can be invoked by pressing cmd+spacebar or clicking the magnifying glass on the menu bar.


Spotlight is so efficient the results populate as fast as you type.

Spotlight search results do not just return items stored on your Mac. Amongst other things Spotlight can return web pages, weather and convert currency.


Spotlight Search can quickly tell you what the local or world weather will be.
Spotlight search can convert world currencies.

iLogix very rarely see issues with Spotlight Search. Most issues can be resolved by rebuilding the Spotlight Index.


To Rebuild the Spotlight index

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Spotlight.

  2. Click the Privacy tab.

  3. Drag the disk or folder that you want to re-index to the list of locations that Spotlight is prevented from searching in. Or click the add button (+) and select the disk or folder to add.

You can only add an item to the Privacy tab if you have ownership permissions for that item. To find out more about permissions, choose Help from the Finder menu bar, then search for “permissions”.


4. From the same list of locations, select the disk or folder that you've just added. Then click the remove button (–) to remove it from the list.


5. Quit System Preferences. Spotlight will re-index the contents of the disk or folder. This can take some time, depending on the amount of information that is being indexed.


iLogix Computer Solutions are often asked by users for help with the Search function in Microsoft Outlook for Mac. The following steps resolve many of these issues.


How to resolve issues with Outlook search in macOS


When you first click in the search box in Outlook, it defaults to “Current Mailbox”. This means that it will only search the currently selected email folder. If the email you are looking for is in a different folder, you won’t see the results.


Click in the search box in the top right, click on the “Search” menu in the top left of the Outlook window and then select “All Emails” to change the setting to all email folders:

Tell Spotlight to re-index the Outlook data folder


The second possible issue is a corrupted Spotlight index. Spotlight, the macOS search feature, creates indexes of the data on the Mac to help speed up searching. Occasionally, these indexes corrupt, stopping the search from working. To try a re-index, complete the following steps:


1. Open System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy


2. Click “+” and add the following folder: ~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office


3. Select the same entry in System Preferences and click the “-” button


4. Close System Preferences


These actions add the Outlook data folder to an exclusion list for searching, removing the index. Removing the folder from the exclusion list causes Spotlight to re-index the folder, possibly fixing the Outlook search issue.


Turn Spotlight off and on again


It is possible that the Spotlight search feature has crashed. You can either restart the Mac, or just switch Spotlight off and on again with the following steps:

  1. Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app

  2. Enter the following entering your password when prompted: sudo mdutil -a -i off

  3. Enter: sudo mdutil -a -i on

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