Fifteen years ago, we released the first version of what came to be one of the most popular search tools on the Mac: HoudahSpot.
🎂 Happy Birthday, HoudahSpot!
When Apple introduced Spotlight search with Mac OS 10.4 Tiger in 2005, we felt that the Spotlight technology held a lot of promise. It allowed for blindingly fast file searches by relying on an index. We soon realized that the Spotlight interface left much of that promise unfulfilled. It lacked the finesse needed to hone in on the files we were looking for.
Thus was born the idea for HoudahSpot: “unleash Spotlight”. HoudahSpot should combine the speed of the Spotlight index with the flexibility and precision of standard file search. The idea came to life on May 8th, 2006, with the release of HoudahSpot 1.0.
HoudahSpot uses the macOS Spotlight index for ultra-fast file searches. By building upon Spotlight, HoudahSpot can find files by name, text content, as well a wide variety of file properties and metadata.
Spotlight in turn relies on importer plug-ins to read all kinds of files. When indexing a file, Spotlight calls upon the plug-in that specializes in the file type at hand to extract text and metadata. Such importers are installed with the system and with applications that introduce new file formats.
The Info pane in HoudahSpot shows the information available for a given file. This is the metadata that the importer plug-in has shared with the Spotlight index.
The native macOS file systems impose remarkably few restrictions on file names and path lengths. Mac users can name files with long names and descriptive names. Useful as these are, such file names can prove a burden when files need to be shared, copied to other file systems, or uploaded to certain cloud services.
Indeed many other systems limit the length of file names. Before attempting to move files to such systems it is useful to check names for compliance with restrictions. Hence the need to search file files with names longer than the imposed limit.
In this post, we are going to check a folder structure for files with names more than 140 characters long.
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.
In HoudahSpot, you can choose between hundreds of criteria to search for files. HoudahSpot also lets you specify in which folders to search and how to sort results.
There are lots of options to choose from – and settings you don’t want to make over and again.
Search criteria, results display, and sort order are a matter of personal preference and habits. You may, for example, find yourself frequently searching for files by file extension. You may prefer to search your full hard drive rather than just your home folder. You may want search results always to list file size.
Let’s see how you can set up HoudahSpot so that a new search window matches your preferred way of searching.
Mit macOS 11.0 Big Sur hält ein drastisches neues Aussehen Einzug – eine bedeutende ästhetische Abkehr von früheren macOS-Versionen. HoudahSpot 6.0 passt sich dieser aufgefrischten Mac-Benutzeroberfläche mit einem fein abgestimmten neuen Aussehen, einem neuen Icon und einer neu gestalteten Symbolleiste an.
Zudem kommt mit HoudahSpot 6 Unterstützung für Macs mit Apple-Silicon-Prozessoren.Das bringt beste Leistung auf der aktuellsten Mac-Hardware.
HoudahSpot 6.0 hat selbstverständlich viel mehr zu bieten als gutes Aussehen. Es enthält eine Fülle von Funktionen und Verbesserungen, die deine Produktivität verbessern werden.
macOS 11.0 Big Sur has introduced a dramatic new look representing a significant aesthetic departure from previous macOS versions. HoudahSpot 6.0 adopts this refreshed Mac user interface with a fine-tuned new look, a new icon, and a redesigned toolbar.
Moreover, HoudahSpot 6 adds support for Macs with Apple Silicon processors. It gives you the best performance on the latest Mac hardware.
Of course, HoudahSpot 6.0 has much more to offer than good looks. It comes packed with features and enhancements that will improve your productivity.
The good news: HoudahSpot 6.0 can again find Apple Mail message files!
With macOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple moved the indexing of Mail messages files from traditional Spotlight to “Core Spotlight.” The problem with this change is that Core Spotlight does not allow searching by third-party applications like HoudahSpot.
More precisely, applications are only allowed to search data they have submitted themselves. Thus the Mail application can call upon Core Spotlight to find messages. Core Spotlight is of no use to search tools like HoudahSpot. HoudahSpot does not manage or create data and thus never has data to submit to Core Spotlight. Instead, as a HoudahSpot user, you expect to find all kinds of files regardless of which application created the files.
This limitation of Core Spotlight does not only interfere with search tools. Many other utilities, scripts, and productivity tools suffer from the fact that messages, notes, and bookmarks are no longer searchable. Previously, a contact manager like BusyContacts could rely on Spotlight to watch for mail messages and maintain an activity list for each contact.