How to use the Mac Look Up reference tool for quick details

Your Mac comes with a handy, built-in Look Up feature that lets you get information on just about anything. Whether it’s a simple word definition or a game on the App Store, with a click, you can get what you need. While this tool is convenient, it’s one of those things you may not think about using. We’ll show you how to access it and give you tips for using the Mac Look Up reference tool.

Using Look Up on Mac

How to open the Look Up tool on Mac

You have three quick ways to open the Look Up tool, so use whichever is most comfortable for you.

Select a word or phrase and then:

  • Press Command + Control + D
  • Right-click or Control-click and pick Look Up from the shortcut menu.
  • Use force touch with three fingers on your Mac trackpad. Or, click with three fingers if you’ve enabled it for Look Up & data detectors in System Settings > Trackpad.
Look Up in Safari on Mac

Using these methods will open the Dictionary section of the Look Up tool, which gives you the definition, pronunciation, part of speech, and such.

Note: In some apps, you may not have to select the word or phrase to use Look Up.

Look Up tool choices

You have more options to check out aside from the Dictionary. And the options differ depending on the word or phrase. When you open the Look Up tool, just slide or swipe to the right for the additional choices.

  • Wikipedia: Shows a preview of the word or phrase on Wikipedia.
  • Siri Knowledge: Shows the details Siri has about the word or phrase.
  • iTunes Store: Shows songs or albums containing the word or phrase.
  • App Store or Mac App Store: Shows iOS or Mac apps with the word or phrase.
  • Book Store: Shows books with the word or phrase in the title.
  • Movies: Shows movies with the word or phrase in the title.
  • TV Show: Shows TV shows with the word or phrase in the title.
  • Maps: Shows a location with the word or phrase in its name on a map with contact details and Yelp reviews.
  • News: Shows news stories related to the word or phrase.
  • Twitter: Shows a recent tweet with the word or phrase.
  • Web Videos: Shows web videos related to the word or phrase.
Mac Loop Up Tool Store iTunes Twitter

Within each option above, you can click for further details or to head right to the source. For instance, movies will take you to the TV app, and an app will take you to the App Store.

View TV or App Store Look Up Mac

Adjusting the suggestions in Look Up

This only applies to old versions of macOS.

Your Mac will use suggestions that you enable for Spotlight Search if you like. To enable or disable this option, open your System Preferences with the button your Dock or by clicking the Apple icon > System Preferences from the menu bar and then follow these steps:

1) In System Preferences, click Spotlight.

2) At the bottom of the Spotlight settings, check or uncheck the box for Allow Spotlight Suggestions in Look Up.

Allow Suggestions in Look Up Mac

The Look Up reference tool on Mac really is a great feature that can save you time. Whether you want a definition or are interested in a movie, app, or post on Twitter, Look Up can help.

Is the Look Up tool something that you forget about or happen to use all the time on your Mac? Let us know!

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