Spotlight - Refine search results by Kind

This morning I had to find a specific document that I hadn't used in a couple of years. I couldn't remember where I'd archived it or what the exact file name was. And I needed it now. Right now.

I panicked for a split second. Then I typed what I could remember about the file into Spotlight: two keywords and the application I'd created it in, and there it was.

Apple Spotlight search bar

Spotlight is the search technology built into every Mac and it's quite powerful. It's not only an excellent search engine, but an application launcher, a calculator, a dictionary, and so much more. A quick example, type date:yesterday into Spotlight and it'll show you the applications, documents, folders, etc. you used yesterday. There are many such features that make Spotlight a great tool. The one I use the most is searching by kind.

Searching by Kind in Spotlight

Almost every time I use Spotlight to search for something I know what kind of file I'm after. It's rare that I type in something and think to myself, "I'm not sure if what I'm after is a presentation or a song or an application". In fact, I typically not only know the file type, but the application I used to create it as well.

Spotlight has a handy feature that lets you refine your search results by what it calls "kind".

Apple Spotlight search by kind:application

To pre-qualify your results by kind, just type into Spotlight kind:[type], where "type" can be any of the below. The most common ones are:

kind:application - Searches only applications (kind:app also works)
kind:document - Searches across all document types
kind:image - Searches across all image types
kind:audio - Searches across all audio formats
kind:video - Searches across all video formats
kind:music - Searches only music files
kind:movie - Searches only movie files
kind:folder - Searches only for folder titles

Spotlight lets you get even more granular than that. You can refine to only files created with a specific application, or just music, or even particular file extensions.

kind:keynote - Searches only Keynote presentations
kind:pages - Searches only Pages documents
kind:numbers - Searches only Numbers spreadsheets
kind:omnigraffle - Searches only OmniGraffle documents
kind:mindnode - Searches only MindNode mind maps
kind:pixelmator - Searches only Pixelmator documents
kind:word - Searches only Word documents
kind:powerpoint - Searches only PowerPoint presentations
kind:excel - Searches only Excel spreadsheets
kind:pdf - Searches only PDF documents
kind:jpeg - Searches only images in jpeg format
kind:tiff - Searches only images in tiff format
kind:raw - Searches only images in RAW format
kind:docx - Searches only across recent (.docx) Word files
kind:zip - Searches only zip compressed files

In the case of the document I needed this morning, I knew it was a Keynote presentation. I also knew it was about mobile marketing. And I knew it was a keynote I did for ad:tech Unwired in Sydney. So I typed into Spotlight kind:keynote adtech mobile and voila.

Apple Spotlight refined search by kind:application and keywords