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Re-center the Spotlight search window

Starting with OS X 10.11 (El Capitan), the Spotlight search box was no longer anchored to the menu bar. Instead, it became a floating box you could move around. While this is incredibly useful, I couldn't figure out how to get the box back to center, so I did what any normal person would do: I asked the Twitterverse … and as hoped, the Twitterverse came through:

It really is that simple—just click-and-hold on Spotlight's menu bar icon to recenter the search box. And now, a gratuitous video (because I need all the practice I can get with screen recordings!).

Hooray for simple solutions, boo for Apple hiding them from easy discovery: The built-in help references the ability to move the box, but not how to move it back.

5 thoughts on “Re-center the Spotlight search window”

  1. Nice to know it’s not fixed to the center of the screen - but what preferences tweak do we use to get it docked back in the menu? This unnecessarily huge real-estate-grabbing search box obscuring my open windows was what triggered my initial aversion to El Cap.

    While you’re at it - and this is the kind of thing I traditionally when to MacOSXHints for - what are the search qualifiers that are currently recognized by Spotlight in order to display only certain categories of results (eg., show only folder names)?

    1. I'm not aware of any way to re-anchor it; the architecture has changed. Similarly, I don't think Spotlight supports any of the old qualifiers (i.e. kind:image). Instead, I suppose they expect you to uncheck those results you don't want to see in Spotlight's System Preferences panel.


  2. I still use a bunch of those old qualifiers under El Capitan, both in Spotlight and Spotlight-based features, like Saved Searches.

    And to show only folder names, something like name:searchterm kind:folder works on my end.

    1. They definitely don't work in Sierra, at least not in the way I'd expect. For instance, searching "2015 kind:folder" found a number of matches based on, I believe, the creation date containing 2015. But it didn't list any folders with that name, even though I have dozens. If I try kind:image, I don't ever get any matches.


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