How to Use Spotlight As Calculator in OS X

Do you know you can also use Spotlight for common calculations without firing up any additional calculator or software in OS X Mavericks and Yosemite?

Sometimes the new features in the updated version of OS either are not told to the users or are not advertised as they should be. The users are expected to find them and share them with others over time. The same is case with this secret feature of spotlight which provides you the opportunity to perform some quick calculations.

spotlight calculation

Usually every desktop operating system comes with a default calculator software. Even now the operating systems for smart devices, I mean mobile, tablets and other handhelds, are also preloaded with a native calculator app. These native and factory loaded apps are sufficient to perform the day to day math, though some users also install some third party software in order to get either more interactivity or a unique feature which is not present in the default one.

OS X also includes a very useful calculator which contains three modes, that are basic, scientific and programmer.

Calculator programmer

But if you want to get simple calculations and you don’t want to spend few extra clicks, you can easily perform them in Spotlight.

What is spotlight?

Spotlight is an internal search engine which lets you find the files, directories, vidoes, songs, documents and installed applications quickly without navigating to the exact path. You can find the spotlight icon in the top-right corner of the menu-bar. You can also access it by using the keyboard shortcut Command+ Spacebar.

spotlight as calculator

Now simply enter the digits and use + (for addition), – (subtraction), * (multiplication) and / (for division). The result will be displayed live and you wouldn’t need to press Enter key. Beyond the simple equations, you can also use it for some advanced maths but in that case the result couldn’t be understandable though you can copy it and paste it somewhere to get the full result.

google calculator

It seems Apple stole this feature from Google which also lets you perform some quick calculations without pressing the “I am feeling lucky” or Enter button. However, Google search engine requires internet and a browser to run. Spotlight on the other hand is quick and doesn’t need any additional requirements.

If you don’t use it, or didn’t know about it, start using it right now and you’ll forget the other calculator apps soon.

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By A. Usman

Loves new tech, especially from Apple and Google.

View all of A. Usman's posts.

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