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Spotlight in El Capitan is supposed to be more inclusive and "smart" by helping the user find what s/he needs. However, since upgrading to El Capitan, I've found that the only way to get Spotlight to display Safari bookmarks whose name includes the string "Class roster" in its results is to put the string in quotes

Steps to Reproduce: 1. Invoke Spotlight via command-space 2. Type "class roster" (without enclosing quotes)

Expected Results: My two bookmarks named "Class Rosters" and "UT Austin Class Rosters" should be at the top of the hit list

Actual Results: These bookmarks are not displayed unless "Class Rosters" is enclosed in quotes. However, if I click on "Show All in Finder," the bookmarks do appear under "Bookmarks and History", so they're definitely being indexed by Spotlight.

Bookmarks and history results do not even appear in this short list. If I query ‘kind:history class roster', the bookmark is displayed at the top of the list.

Another data point. Recently, I started with a brand-new MacBook Pro and configured it from scratch. Initially, the "Class roster" bookmark would appear at the top of the Spotlight list of hits, so I concluded that there must have been some sort of corruption on the earlier machine. However, after a few days, Spotlight no longer simply lists the "Class rosters" bookmark when I search for that string in the Spotlight search field; I have to type "kind:history class roster" or choose "Show All in Finder."

Does anyone understand what is happening and why Spotlight is missing the obvious?

  • My system (2012 on El Cap 10.11.3) works as you would expect. I do not need to use enclosing quotes. Suggestion 1: In System Preferences -> Spotlight, click the Search Results tab and DESELECT bookmarks and history, then RESELECT bookmarks and history. Suggestion 2: If this does not work, then force spotlight to reindex everything by turning off all options and dragging your drives to the exclude list under privacy; then delete the drives you have just excluded and reselect all the search results you desire. HTH. – Mic Channel Feb 17 '16 at 18:34
  • This particular search is based on file names and it also depends on there being many hits based on the same string found within files. Bookmarks and history results only appear in the list if I go into System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results and uncheck "Mail and Messages" -- but then the bookmark only appears at the end of the list. My conclusion is that Spotlight is insufficiently prioritizing hits based on file names alone. My conclusion is that Spotlight is insufficiently prioritizing hits based on file names alone. Can you try to find a bookmark based on its name and see? – odysseus Feb 17 '16 at 20:24
  • Your suggestion of selecting bookmarks and history and reselecting made things worse! -- now the bookmarks don't appear at all. Will now try suggestion #2 😉 Could any apps conceivably be interfering with this? CrashPlan? – odysseus Feb 17 '16 at 20:28
  • Sorry to hear that. Definitely works OK on my system. The Apple-official explanation of step 2 is support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201716 . Yes, my system spotlight finds a word from a bookmark and also produces search results from files, and it tends to prioritise the file results. On my system my Safari browser search bar is set to produce results from 'bookmarks and history' and that, of course, excludes file results. Therefore I tend to use Safari for bookmark-only searches not Spotlight. I believe that Safari is using the same Spotlight engine to do a targeted search. – Mic Channel Feb 19 '16 at 12:10

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