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Working With the Tag Cloud

The tag cloud is a new addition in HoudahSpot 6.0. The tag cloud helps you incrementally refine your search to include only the most relevant files.

In previous blog posts, we have looked a how to assign file tags in HoudahSpot and the different ways you can find and filter files by tags. Let’s see how the tag cloud fits in and helps you find files faster.

Finder tags are a useful way to categorize your files. They are color-coded labels that you can assign to files. You can use tags to flag certain files. For example, you may want to flag your favorite photos. You can also use tags to organize files. What makes tags particularly useful is that you can assign multiple tags to a file. A single file can be organized into different categories. Tag a file with “Acme Corp”, “Painted Tunnel Project”, “Invoice”, and “Past Due”. You can find the file when listing all correspondence with “Acme Corp”. You will find the same file when searching for “Past Due” and “Invoice”.

The true power of HoudahSpot lies in the fact that it helps you narrow down a search to the point where the list of results has only relevant files and is easy to manage. File information and previews then make it easy to quickly pick the files you actually need.

The tag cloud is the latest addition to your HoudahSpot file searching toolbelt. You can use the tag cloud to quickly find tagged files. The tag cloud is also a very powerful way to incrementally refine your search when you are looking for files.

Acme Corp file tag

Find Tagged Files

In HoudahSpot, the tag cloud appears in the Search pane below the Refine and Locations sections. Use the View > Search > Show Search menu item to reveal the Search pane.

Initially, the tag cloud lists your favorite tags. You can configure this list of file tags in HoudahSpot > Preferences > Tags.

To find tagged files, click one or more tags. HoudahSpot highlights the selected tags. Click the Start button in the toolbar to run the search.

To exclude a tag, hold the command key as you click it in the tag cloud. HoudahSpot will highlight the tag with a line through the label. The search now excludes files that have the selected tag.

Narrow Down a Search Using Tags

The tag cloud really shines when it comes to refining a search: select tags to pare down the list of results.

Start with a rather broad search: type “Acme Corp” in the main search field at the top of a HoudahSpot window.

The initial search returns thousands of files. These include project files, inquiries received, invoices sent, all sorts of email messages, and much more.

At the same time, HoudahSpot has updated the tag cloud. This now shows file tags found in the search results. Next to each tag, HoudahSpot shows the number of files that have the tag on them.

You can now use the tag cloud to drill down into your search.

Some of the search results are invoices: files that you have given the “Invoice” tag. Click the “Invoice” tag to limit your search to only these files.  Refine your search further by selecting the “Past Due” tag.

Paid InvoicesCommand-click the “Painted Tunnel Project” tag to exclude files having that tag. Now your search results should be down to a reasonable number of files.

Not a real tunnelYou can back out and start over by holding the shift key as you click a tag. This selects the tag and at the same time de-selects all other tags. Shift-click the “Paid” tag to find only files having that tag.