If you’ve used both Spotlight and one of the third-party file indexers/launchers that came before it, like LaunchBar or QuickSilver, you know that entering a search takes a little more effort in Spotlight. LaunchBar and QuickSilver can find a file using very short abbreviations, they learn which abbreviations you prefer, and they interpret abbreviations very intelligently. For example, LaunchBar knows that if I type “wrd” I want my network location named “Linksys Wired”. Spotlight can’t do that because it only abbreviates starting from the beginning of the search term; it won’t find an abbreviation that doesn’t match the beginning of the term. (On a side note, Spotlight also can’t bring up network locations. I wish it would.)
However, Spotlight will find matches starting from the beginning of each word, and it doesn’t necessarily need the whole word. If I want to find “meeting minutes,” I only have to enter “mee mi” and they’ll be found.
I think this is important to mention because some people think you have to type the entire search term from the beginning, but you don’t have to. Just the beginning of each word can be enough, and taking advantage of this shortcut can make Spotlight search term entry significantly faster and more convenient.