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Inaccurate Search Results Using OS X 10.8.5

Posted on 2014-09-28
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Last Modified: 2014-09-29
Since buying the Macbook on which the above noted OS is installed, I've been perplexed by the seemingly unaccountable search results I get when typing in a query. For example, if I search for Art5, a picture file, I get:

421927310-widget_CSS-2_bundle,css
Art5.jpg [the actual file name for the item I've searched for]
Article-2172057-13ES357400000-119_634x512.jpg
GUN TIFFANY.jpg
HOLME.jpg
KHALO TROTSKY.jpg
PERSIAN ART.jpg

I'm aware that in some of the above files the word "art" or the numeral 5 appears, but in others, neither does. This isn't an isolated phenomenon.

Also, in some cases, when I search for a file using its exact name and one that begins with a single vowel, such as I BITE, I don't get that file at all--but if I search for "BITE" minus the initial "I", I do.

Is there some arcane rationale at work here, or is something wrong? Do I need to reindex?

Thanks for your help.
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Question by:arthurboehm
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Eoin OSullivan earned 500 total points
ID: 40349435
The Spotlight search in OSX is a little over-enthusiastic and never wants to disappoint so always seems to return some results.  Image searches usually include META or attribute information which goes beyond a pure filename search.  I'll bet that if you open one of the images like HOLME.jpg and look at the META info or EXIF data you'll find some reference to ART and/or 5

In order to get ONLY image files with Art +5 in the name you need to use a more refined search in the Finder or specify a few parameters in the spotlight search box

For example if you enter into spotlight search box
art +5 kind:images

Open in new window


See this apple article on SOME of the advanced filters you can enter directly into the Spotlight search box
http://support.apple.com/kb/PH11176
all the keywords are here
http://support.apple.com/kb/PH11231?viewlocale=en_US

Also you can use the BOOLEAN and many other variables in a Finder Search if you open a finder search window and you can select many more parameters like file type, modiifed date , system files etc, etc,

For real power users you can use the Terminal version of Spotlight called mdfind or the standard unix find command.
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Author Comment

by:arthurboehm
ID: 40349761
Ah, I see! Thanks so much, eoinosullivan.

PS, I wasn't using Spotlight to make the search I detail above, but I assume your info applies to any search, via Spotlight or Finder, yes?
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 40349767
PPS .. YES ... the Finder search is powered by spotlight too .. same rules apply
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Author Comment

by:arthurboehm
ID: 40349772
Thanks.
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