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File Search: Exclude Folders by Drag & Drop

What can you do if your file search produces too many results? You’ll need to narrow down your search, and one way to do this is by specifying or excluding search locations. This refocuses the search on certain folders and excludes others.

In HoudahSpot, you can easily change or exclude search locations by dropping folders onto the Search pane’s Locations section. You can drag and drop folders from the Finder. In many cases, however, the following procedure will be more useful:

In your results list, you may discover a file in a folder you’d like to exclude. When you select the file, HoudahSpot will show you the file’s path at the bottom of the window. From there, simply drag a folder onto an “Exclude:” entry in the Search pane’s Locations section.

Application Screenshot
Drag & drop a folder from the file path to the Locations section

For those who use complex search location setups, let me just add a few remarks about the smart exclusion feature introduced in HoudahSpot 4.

How does the smart exclusion feature work? Basically, when it comes to search locations and exclusions, the most specific entry wins. Let’s have a look at an example:

Let’s say you want to search your home folder and your Mail messages, but you don’t want to get results from the Library folder. You would set up a query to include your home folder but exclude the Library folder – except for the Mail folder which is located within your Library folder. The setup would look like this:

Application Screenshot

Because ~/Library/Mail is more specific, it takes priority over ~/Library. Therefore, you will get results from the Mail folder but not from any other Library folder.