A colleague just asked me how to eliminate Outlook 2011 email messages from Spotlight search results on Mac OS X.  The solution is to add this string to your Spotlight search:


If you wanted to search for the word “motorcycles” but exclude Outlook 2011 email messages from the results, your query would look like this:

Exclude Outlook messages from Spotlight search results

In that string, the minus sign (-) tells Spotlight to exclude files that match the next attribute.  The “kind:” tells Spotlight to consider the Kind of each search result, e.g. PDF, Excel spreadsheet, etc.  The “olk14_message” tells Spotlight that the kind of file we’re trying to exclude is an Outlook version 14 message (Microsoft Outlook 2011 is actually Microsoft Outlook version 14).

This conversation reminded me that Apple provides some good tips for Spotlight searching in their knowledge base.  Check out these useful articles if you want to improve your Spotlight searching skills:

OS X Mountain Lion: Narrow down Spotlight search results

OS X Mountain Lion: Keywords to use in Spotlight searches

OS X Mountain Lion: Shortcuts for searching with Spotlight

You can also find many useful Spotlight tips by searching the web for blog posts about Spotlight.  One of my favorites is Josh Johnson’s Become a Spotlight Super User at Mactuts+.


Brightsource IT is an Information Technology provider located in St. Louis, Missouri.  We have been providing complete IT management and tech support for small and medium businesses since 2004.  As members of the Apple Consultants Network, we also provide Mac and iOS management training to corporate IT departments.