Archiving paper documents as PDF files is a great way to save shelf space and preserve essential records.
However, more than simply scanning the documents is required. It would be best if you also used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to process the scans. Once OCR has processed a PDF scan, the file contains an invisible text version in addition to the scanned image of the document. macOS Spotlight can now index the content, and you can use HoudahSpot to search your document archive.
In most cases, you want search results to include nested items. You have organized your files in a folder hierarchy and are using a search tool to find files anywhere in a folder tree of related files.
HoudahSpot uses the Spotlight index maintained by macOS. This allows for lightning-fast file searches and enables HoudahSpot to find all kinds of files by name, text content, and metadata.
Spotlight does have its limitations. Some of these affect HoudahSpot. While HoudahSpot lets you combine any number of search criteria to hone in on specific files, you however cannot find or exclude files by their path.
Hook by CogSci Apps lets you create links between your documents, emails, web pages, and notes. On the Internet, links between web pages allow you to discover related content and navigate a vast sea of documents. Likewise, Hook puts files into order on your Mac.
Much like HoudahSpot, Hook is a productivity tool in the guise of a utility. Rather than solve problems you wouldn’t have without a computer, these tools empower your Mac to help you get your work done.
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.