Do Quick Conversions Using Spotlight in OS X

apple spotlight

Search engines give us instant knowledge, which puts pretty much everything you could ever imagine at your fingertips. When you have the whole world at your disposal, a search engine can answer nearly any question that bumps up against your brain. When you need to figure out the capital of Arizona, Google can tell you in a few seconds. When you’re eating out and want to calculate an 18 percent tip, Google can do the math for you faster than you can in your head.

And while search engines are impressive in and of themselves, you have an equally powerful tool at your fingertips when you’re on a Mac. It’s called Spotlight, and this is how you use it to do conversions quicker than you can type

Never heard of Spotlight?

Spotlight has been around since 2005, and it’s built-in to your Mac’s operating system. Briefly explained, Spotlight is a desktop search tool that can find any file, document, app or picture on your OS X machine.

It can also do a whole lot more, including perform calculations, look up words in the dictionary, give you directions using Apple Maps or Google Maps, search through your contacts, find a specific email, and a bazillion other things.

How to access Spotlight in OS X

hit command and spacebar in os x

Opening Spotlight is as simple as hitting the Command key and then the spacebar on your Mac’s keyboard. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see the Spotlight search window, which will automatically pop up on your screen.

Spotlight search window

Performing conversions in Spotlight

Spotlight is mostly smart enough to figure out what you want to know without you having to be too wordy. In fact, it’s best to use language that’s as simple as possible.

Currency conversions

$1000 conversion in Spotlight

When you want to know how much your money is worth in another country, simply type in a dollar amount (if you’re in the United States) and Spotlight spits back instant currency conversions in Euros, British Pounds Sterling, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollars, and Swiss Francs.

Distance conversions

distance conversion

If you need to convert miles to kilometers, yards, feet or inches, just enter in the exact number you need converted, as shown below.

Capacity and volume conversions

recipe conversion

How many ounces are in a milligram? Ask Spotlight.

Temperature conversion

temperature conversion

What is the Fahrenheit equivalent of 10 degrees Celsius? Spotlight knows.

The list of conversions you can perform with Spotlight is pretty much endless. Next time you need to know something in a hurry, try using Spotlight instead of your favorite search engine.

Posted by Jodi Jae on March 17, 2016

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