I'd like to run a Spotlight search to find all email messages that contain a specific attachment:

attachment names:screenshot

I tried the keyword "attachment names" in the Spotlight search window and in Finder's search field, but it returns no results. I suspect that this may be due to the space in the keyword "attachment names".

When I define the search criteria in Finder and pick Attachment names from the menu, it does return the correct results (see screenshot #2, I cut out the actual results).

Spotlight serach

Note: I tried leaving out the space, but that did not work. However, for another keyword, "Color space", using "colorspace" does work...

Note 2: Attachments are only one example, I'm looking for a solution that works for any keyword that contains of more than one word.

2 Answers 2


This is not an answer. I wrote this just inform: In my experience, spotlight can get the right result, even if it contains spaces in the file name. Please refer to the screenshot below

enter image description here

First, Make Sure enable "Mail & Message" option in spotlight preference.

PS:Usually you can search email in build-in Apple mail search or using Smart mailbox. Of course, you can also use the spotlight to search for email.

  • I would assume the OP is specifically trying to do this without using the mouse, which your answer requires. Furthermore, your answer is literally what the OP has already described.
    – Fake Name
    Jan 17, 2015 at 10:28
  • I wrote the answer to explain that spotlight could search get the result without inputing the " mark , even if there are spaces in the name of them. The reason why details of the steps is to provide a reference, hoping to find what went wrong
    – nelson
    Jan 17, 2015 at 10:43
  • The OP knows that, (s)he has an image of exactly that in the OP!
    – Fake Name
    Jan 17, 2015 at 10:47
  • OK, you are right
    – nelson
    Jan 17, 2015 at 10:48
  • @FakeName I've changed my post
    – nelson
    Jan 17, 2015 at 11:05

You would use the "" marks to search for multiple words that are also searched in the exact order as written.

To insist on words that are in order with nothing intervening, use quotes marks around them:


"Mail Attachment"

will search for Mail Attachment in names.

Read more on Spotlight searches here

  • Thanks for your answer, but I'm specifically looking for a way to use keywords with spaces. I tried "attachment names":screenshot but that does not return results when entered directly into Spotlight.
    – Mark
    Jan 19, 2015 at 6:26

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