In Apple apps with a search feature, how do I only search for one letter?

Let's say I'm reading a math paper, but forgot what the variable "s" meant. In Windows/Linux apps I could just include spaces in my search (" s ") and it found all instances of the lone letter "s". This does not work with my Apple apps and a search for " s " returns all occurrences of the letter "s", ignoring whether the "s" is part of a word or not.


Ps. the specific program I'm using is "Preview".

  • 1
    Adding spaces around the search phrase should work in most applications, but Preview supports fuzzy searching in the contents of PDFs and overrides the standard behavior. Double quotes would be interpreted as the literal characters in other applications like TextEdit.
    – Lri
    Sep 5, 2012 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


You quote your search string (put the quotes in the query)

" s "

to force Preview to match the exact query

  • Wonderful. Would vote up, but my rep is only good on SO for some reason. Sep 5, 2012 at 9:28

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