I've recently made the switch from PC to Mac and am looking for a quick way to make a web search.

On PC, I had Google Desktop installed, so could double-tap 'Ctrl' to bring up a Google search box, where I could type my search command and hit enter.

As far as I can see, there are two similar options in Mac, but neither are quite as quick:

1) Hit 'cmd-Space' to bring up Spotlight, then type search term, then use the mouse to select 'web search' from the bottom of the menu. This option is close to perfect, and if there is some way I can hit a keyboard shortcut to ensure a web search is the next action, I'd be happy to use it. I know it's possible to rearrange the way Spotlight presents its results, but this doesn't seem to include web search results, and even if it did, I would still want to use Spotlight to launch apps quickly.

2) Alternatively, type a piece of text somewhere, select it, and then hit 'Shift-cmd-L'. This is great, but it relies on you having a space somewhere that you can actually type the text out first (and the wherewithal to remember to remove the text when you get back to the app). This isn't easy in all situations.

Ideally, I would be able to just open up spotlight, type the search term, and then hit some sort of key combination to ensure my query is sent to a web search. Alternatively, I have also found Google Quick Search Box, but this only works from the primary desktop view.

Any ideas?


2 Answers 2


First, welcome to the Mac world. I made the switch from PC to Mac in 2010 and haven't looked back. It took me a while to find replacements for all the tools I was used to on PC, but I did eventually find new ways and/or apps.

There's a great app called Alfred in the app store. It's a replacement for spotlight, but can also be a shortcut for web searching, dictionary/thesaurus lookups, a calculator, etc. Worth the money I paid for it a few years back. It's easily triggered by ALT-space.

  • Perfect. Just what I'm looking for (until Yosemite is released, as @Daniel Beck suggests), and it's free now as well. Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 14:47
  • Oh, that's right. The powerpack is what they charge for. Should still be useful without it. alfredapp.com/powerpack Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 14:50

Using your Spotlight search option, if you type the search term and then hit ctrl, it will take you to the bottom of the list, then two up-arrows will get you to web search. Not ideal, but not that bad either.

BTW, good work researching the options before posting your question.

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