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  1. #1
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files

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    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files
    I use SPSS (see www.spss.com) extensively for statistical work. Syntax files end in .sps and output files end in .spo. I have thousands of these files on my Mac (they used to be on my PC). I often need to search for a .sps file with a certain word in it such as regression.

    If I type .sps [note the period] into Spotlight, I get a list of 2,514 files that either have the string .sps in the file name or in the body of the file. If I type just the word regression into Spotlight, I get a list of 6,720 files, but only six of them are .sps files and they are all listed as kind:document. Even this seemingly big list does not include dozens of files that I KNOW are syntax files and have the word regression in them.

    If I type both .sps and regression into Spotlight, I get a list of 166 items. A few of them are OK, but many programs that I KNOW are syntax files (name ending in .sps) and that contain the word regression are not found in the search.

    What's wrong?

  2. #2
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files
    mrplow's Avatar
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    Have you tried
    kind:sps AND regression

    mrplow
    External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

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  3. #3
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files

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    I entered a search on kind:sps AND regression. Guess what happened? The system immediately activated Parallels (which is where SPSS runs from, since it's a PC based program) but produced no search results at all.

    Is that weird or what?

  4. #4
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files

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    Quote Originally Posted by stellman View Post
    (which is where SPSS runs from, since it's a PC based program)
    Well, it would certainly help if you got the Mac version of SPSS

  5. #5
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files
    mrplow's Avatar
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    Spot light would only 'immediately activate' an app if you press ENTER. Just searching won't launch anything.

    That aside...... where are the SPS files held? Windows parallel image? Mac partition? You need to make sure they're all on your mac partition.

    Also... what happens if you use Find from the Finder menu?

    mrplow
    External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

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  6. #6
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files
    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    Spotlight can only search "inside" file types that it has a plugin for.
    Out of the box that includes most "common" file types (e.g. PDF, .doc, .ppt, .txt etc.).

    But for other file types you'll need a Spotlight plugin:
    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/spotlight/

  7. #7
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files
    mrplow's Avatar
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    Aptmunich - "Spotlight can only search "inside" file types that it has a plugin for."

    Then apologies all round. I knew this of Spotlight in Tiger but I thought Leopard had gone beyond that limitation by specifying the 'kind'. Sorry for mis-leading you stellman.

    Does this limit apply to 'find' aswell?

    mrplow
    External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

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  8. #8
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files
    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
    Aptmunich - "Spotlight can only search "inside" file types that it has a plugin for."

    Then apologies all round. I knew this of Spotlight in Tiger but I thought Leopard had gone beyond that limitation by specifying the 'kind'. Sorry for mis-leading you stellman.

    Does this limit apply to 'find' aswell?

    mrplow
    Afaik that is also the case.

    The "traditional" find command would only used to be able to find files by file name. Spotlight has the ability to search through file contents, but in order to do so, it still has to be able to "open" the file and read through it.

    Just like you won't be able to open .docx files without Word 2008, Spotlight can't read .spss files without a plugin.

    The 'kind' operator lets you narrow down your search for files of a certain type, but without a plugin, Spotlight will only search for files of that type by their file name, metadata (e.g. 'get info' comments) and other OS-level file attributes.

    In Leopard the "find" command basically is the same as using Spotlight.

  9. #9
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files
    mrplow's Avatar
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    I can see see why spotlight doesn't routinely index 'unknown' file types but it's a shame there isn't a way to force it to search in particular files . . . a 3rd party solution perhaps?

    stellman - if you're running you're app in parallels why not use the search in windows? I know for sure that you can search the contents of any file for specified text strings. I'm not saying it'll be fast but it will do it.

    mrplow
    External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post

  10. #10
    Spotlight searching for statistical package syntax files

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    Thumbs up Mac SPSS does it
    Quote Originally Posted by technologist View Post
    Well, it would certainly help if you got the Mac version of SPSS
    Update many months later: This was the solution - changing over to Mac version of SPSS. I had continued to use the PC version because the academic license was July to June making it expensive to change in the middle of the year. I renewed the PC version because I only had a PC laptop at the time. Now that I have a MacBook I use SPSS for the Mac and Spotlight works exactly as expected.

    Thanks to all for your advice and encouragement.

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