How To Speed Up Searches on the macOS Dictionary

Speed Up Searches on the macOS

macOS dictionary: what it is and how it works

Through this interesting tool, it is possible to indicate to the operating system a word of particular interest, whether it is present in a document or even on the Safari browser, to obtain a definition.

The function proposed by Apple appears complete and exhaustive, also providing information from relatively authoritative sources such as Wikipedia. As far as the Italian language is concerned, the Colossus of Cupertino offers a dictionary from an affiliate of Oxford University Press, able to guarantee high-level information.

To make everything even more attractive, however, we want to focus mainly on the “tricks” to be able to use the dictionary in the best way and as quickly as possible.

Use a shortcut

Speeding up the search for words in the macOS dictionary is possible through a special shortcut activated by pressing multiple keys. Specifically, it is the Cmd + Ctrl + D combo which, if pressed on the keyboard, allows you to activate the pop-up with the appropriate definitions.

However, it must be said that this shortcut does not work everywhere. According to some tests, it works on most of the browsers around, while it seems to have no effect on other services, such as Google Docs .

How to search for words quickly

Using a shortcut is just one way to use definitions almost instantaneously. An alternative method, more than valid, is to click with the left mouse button on the word to be searched and then, on the context menu that appears, select the Search item.

In the search window that appears, there are several options to choose from:

  • See the full definition of a word by clicking more at the end of the abbreviated definition
  • Display the word in the Default Dictionary app, simply by clicking Open in the dictionary
  • To view more information, you can select a category at the bottom of the popup (alternatively you can scroll left or right on the trackpad and move between the various categories)
  • Finally, you can click Configure dictionaries and open the dictionary preferences window to select or deselect the various sources, according to your tastes. It is possible to choose a selected source to possibly view the pronunciations or the desired language.

Create a custom keyboard shortcut

The default keyboard shortcut is sufficient for short definitions: if you need more information this may not be enough. If so, you can customize your keyboard shortcut for the macOS dictionary. This is achievable through the following procedure:

  • Go to the Apple menu by clicking on the upper left of the screen and open the System Preferences menu
  • Click on the keyboard option. By doing so, five tabs will appear at the top of the preferences screen.
  • Click on Link
  • On the left side of the next window, click Services
  • On the right side of preferences, scroll down to find Search in the dictionary . To the right of this, you should choose the none entry.

At this point, it is necessary to assign the preferred keyboard shortcut. It is possible to choose any kind of combination: in this case, for example, we use the combination Cmd + Shift + Z.

Once you have created the shortcut you can finally test it, by opening any site on your browser and clicking on a word chosen at home. If everything has been done properly, this should allow you to open the Dictionary app directly.

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