HoudahSpot icon

Use “Service Station” to Start a HoudahSpot File Search From Finder

Service Station is a new utility by Knurling Group to customize the Finder context menu with applications and scripts. It is a free download with in-app purchases on the Mac App Store.Screenshot: Finder Context Menu with Service Station Extension

HoudahSpot by Houdah Software is a powerful file search tool for macOS. It takes the guesswork out of Spotlight searches and helps you find files hidden deep in the “haystack” of files accumulated over the years.

You can point HoudahSpot at a particular Finder folder using the Services menu or the HoudahSpot Finder toolbar item.

Service Station can put HoudahSpot at the top level of the Finder context menu. You can then right-click or control-click a selection of folders in Finder and start a new HoudahSpot search within these folders.

Prepare Service Station

Start by downloading and installing Service Station from the Mac App Store. Service Station needs you to perform a few additional steps to get up and running.

Within Service Station > System Setup you will find the Manage Extensions button that takes you to System Preferences. There you can enable the Service Station Finder Extension.

Return to Service Station where you can configure Finder Locations. These are the folders where Service Station will enhance the context menu.

Add a HoudahSpot Menu Item

Within Service Station, switch to the Context Menu tab. Select the Folders rule. Service Station lists the menu items it will show when a folder is selected. You want to add HoudahSpot to the list.

  • Click the “+” button below the list of menu items and select Add Application.
  • Select the HoudahSpot application
  • Click Open

Screenshot: Configure Service Station Finder menuWhenever you have one or more folders selected in Finder you can invoke the context menu using right-click or control-click. You will see HoudahSpot listed along with other Service Station menu items. Select HoudahSpot to open a new search window with its Locations set to the selected folders.

Use HoudahSpot Search Templates

You can also set up a Service Station menu item to use one of your HoudahSpot search templates. You can, for example, configure a menu item to search the selected folders for video files.

In order to do this, you need to use a small script. You can easily customize the sample script we use in this post. The script reads:

on serviceStationDidSelect(targetedURL, selectedItemURLs, menuKind)
	set templateName to "HD Videos.hstemplate"
	set templatePath to POSIX path of (path to home folder) & "/Library/Application Support/com.houdah.HoudahSpot4/Templates/" & templateName
	
	tell application id "com.houdah.HoudahSpot4"
		search "" template templatePath locations selectedItemURLs
		activate
	end tell
end serviceStationDidSelect

Save your script as HD Videos.scpt to the Service Station scripts folder.

You can find that folder by clicking the Open Application Scripts Directory button within Service Station > System Setup.

Next, you need to add the script to the menu items shown when folders are selected.

  • Return to Service Station > Context Menu
  • Select the Folders rule
  • Click the “+” button below the list of menu items and select Add Script.
  • Select the HD Videos.scpt file
  • Click Open

In Finder, you can now use the HD Videos item from the context menu to search for video files within the selected folders.