New to Mac? How to make Siri on Mac work for you

What Can You Ask Siri

For those of you who are taking advantage of our “New to Mac” series, this is another article to add to your bookmarks. We’ll show you how to invoke Siri, what you can ask, how to change the preferences, and more.

Even though Siri has been available on iOS for some time, the helpful tool finally made its appearance on Mac starting with macOS Sierra. And if you’re just getting used to all of the cool things you can do with your new Mac, then you’ll want to check out how to make Siri work for you.

Adjust the Siri settings on Mac

By default, you should have the Siri button on the top right of your menu bar. This makes it as easy as a click to invoke Siri. But there are other ways and additional options for Siri. So we’re going to start with those Siri Preferences.

Open your System Preferences using the button your Dock or by clicking Apple icon > System Preferences from the menu bar. Choose Siri in the pop-up window.

The most important setting in this box is the ability to use Siri. So make sure that the Enable Ask Siri box is checked.

Siri Preferences Mac

On the right, you can make some adjustments to Siri:

  • Keyboard Shortcut: Choose or customize a keyboard shortcut to invoke Siri.
  • Language: Pick your preferred language.
  • Siri Voice: Select how you would like Siri to sound using gender and accent.
  • Voice Feedback: Choose whether or not you would like to receive Siri feedback out loud.
  • Show Siri in menu bar: Uncheck the box if you want to remove the Siri button from the menu bar.
  • Siri Suggestions & Privacy: Click this button to choose the apps Siri should learn from and make suggestions for. Click Done to close the window.
Siri Preferences Suggestions Mac

There’s one other setting that might interest you for Siri and that’s the ability to type your commands instead of speaking them. If you’d like to use this feature instead, open those System Preferences again and this time, pick Accessibility.

Select Siri on the left and on the right mark the box for Enable Type to Siri.

Type to Siri Preferences Mac

Once you have reviewed and adjusted the settings for Siri, it’s time to put your personal assistant to use!

Invoke Siri using your voice, keyboard shortcut, or the button in your menu bar per your preference and settings.

Things you can ask Siri for on Mac

If you’re used to Siri on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or other device, then you already know the types of things you can ask Siri. You can ask Siri for the current weather, where the closest pizza place is, or what time a movie is starting. But on your Mac, Siri can take care of some specific tasks that are quite useful; here are just a handful.

  • Find emails from [contact name].
  • Show the PDFs on my Mac.
  • Find photos from this week.
  • Send a message to [contact name].
  • Show me files with [keyword] in the title.
  • Compose an email to [contact name].

With helpful commands like these, you can quickly locate items and accomplish tasks with Siri on your Mac.

You can also narrow down your results when using commands like these. For instance, if you say “Find the documents I created this week” you can then say something like “only with tutorial in the title” and you’ll see a narrowed down list of results.

Narrow Down Siri Results Mac

Save, use, or edit your Siri results

You can do even more with the results you get from Siri than just view them. You can save the results you get and put them in the Notification Center or drag items from the results list into other apps.

Save your Siri results

Let’s say you asked Siri to find all of the files on your Mac related to a work project. And you need those results handy in the near future.

Just click the plus sign icon on the top right of the results list. They will then pop right over into your Notification Center at the top.

Whatever you put in the Notification Center from your Siri results will stay there and be accessible on the Today screen. To remove the item(s) when you’re done, just click the X at the top of the item(s) in the Notification Center.

Save Siri Results Mac

Use your Siri results

Some types of items that you ask Siri for can be dragged over to use in other apps or even to your desktop. For example, if you ask Siri to find images of something on the web, you can drag one of the results into an email.

Drag Siri Results to Email Mac

Or, if you ask Siri to find files on your Mac, you can drag a file from the results onto your desktop.

Drag Siri Results to Desktop Mac

This is a convenient way to not only find what you need but use it immediately.

Edit your Siri results

If you use voice commands for Siri on your Mac, you can edit your request without creating a brand new request.

For instance, say you ask Siri to find images of sunsets on the web and you of course, see your results. Now you want images of something else, like dogs. Just select a word in your request, type a new word, and hit Return. You will then get your updated results.

Edit Siri Results Mac

Wrapping it up

Using Siri to help you multitask and simply do more on your Mac is a great way to put the tool to use. And with these tips, hopefully you’ll find a good one or two ways to make Siri on Mac work for you.

Do you have any tips for Siri on Mac you’d like to share with our readers? Feel free to comment below or ping us on Twitter!