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What’s New in HoudahSpot 5.0

HoudahSpot 5.0 is finally here. Yes, it has a new icon. Yes, it supports Dark Mode on macOS Mojave.

HoudahSpot packs a lot of enhancements that have you find files faster than ever before. We looked at every step of the search workflow and made sure HoudahSpot does its best to get you to the files you need.

HoudahSpot 5.0 Dark Mode
HoudahSpot 5.0 Dark Mode

Some of the new features deserve special mention:

  • Folding Text Preview — Text Preview can focus on paragraphs that match your search. This makes it easier to see the context in which the text was found.
  • Recent attributes — HoudahSpot remembers recently used search attributes and result columns. Thus HoudahSpot is automatically set up to match your preferences. It also anticipates your needs: search for Mail messages by author and HoudahSpot will know to suggest “Authors” as a column to show in search results.

Similarly, HoudahSpot remembers which locations – folder and drives – you have recently searched and includes these in the search and exclusion location menus.

For search criteria, where HoudahSpot can offer a list of possible values, it now lists recently used values first.

  • Arranged results — HoudahSpot can group search results by date, size, kind, or application. For example: files that will open in Microsoft Word in one group, and files that will open in Apple Pages in another.
  • New filter options — Filter – show or hide – search results by name, path, or folder names. For example, when you want to find all photos in folders named “vacation”, it is quicker to use filters than to list all of these folders as search locations. Just run a search for photos in your home folder. Then filter the results to see only photos where a parent folder is named “vacation”.

Regular expressions can be especially handy when filtering search results. Such filters allow, for example, to see only files whose name begins with IMG_ and is followed by a four-digit number and then the file extension: ^IMG_\d{4}\.\w* . For case-insensitive matching use: (?i)^IMG_\d{4}\.\w* .

  • Faster file tagging — File tags can be used to organize files and to make these easier to find. When tagging files, HoudahSpot now suggests favorite and recently used tags.

In HoudahSpot 5.0, you can also set up keyboard shortcuts to add or remove tags from files.

  • Quicker criteria setup — While entering criteria values in the Refine pane, you can press a keyboard shortcut to add another criterion for the same attribute. For example, when searching for file names that contain both “Houdah” and “Software”: Fill in the “Name” criterion by typing “Houdah”. Then press Command-Option-Return to get a new row. Then type “Software”.

Hold the Shift key to duplicate the current criterion and keep its value. This is useful when searching for the same text in different attributes. To search for a mail message where either the “Authors” or the “Recipients” contain “Houdah”, create an “Any of the following is true” group with an “Authors” criterion. Fill it in by typing “Houdah”. Then press Command-Option-Shift-Return to duplicate the row. Change the attribute of the new criterion to “Recipients”.

  • Fewer windows — When starting a new search, you may want to close earlier searches that you no longer need. The new File > Revert action lets you start over with a fresh search in the current window. The new search will use the same search template as the original search.


Check out the HoudahSpot web page and user guide for more new features.