A quick way to change Spotlight's search location

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Here’s a little Spotlight timesaver for those running 10.5. As you’re probably aware, when you invoke a search in the 10.5 Finder by pressing Command-F, the search window appears with two options—This Mac, which is the chosen default, and the name of the currently-selected folder as another option. If you don’t want to search either of those locations, you basically need to start over—close the search box, select the folder you do want to search in, and then press Command-F again.

Like all good rules, though, there’s an exception to this one: you can search your home folder without starting over. To do so, just press Command-F again after the search box appears. When you do, the name of the currently-selected folder will be replaced with your short username; click it to limit the search to your home folder. If you want to run a filename search on your home folder, press Shift-Command-F instead—in addition to making your home folder show in the search locations section, it will also add the “name contains” search condition; just click on your user’s home folder in the search location area, then type the filename you’d like to search for.

Given that this hint is most useful when you’ve made a mistake—if you know you want to search your home folder, you’ll just select that folder before starting the search—it probably won’t save you a ton of time each day. Instead, consider it one of those little tidbits to file away for use when needed in the future.

Updated at 9:15am to correct one of the keyboard shortcuts listed in this hint.

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