Non-Recursive Search: Find Top-Level Files Only

HoudahSpot searches “recursively” descend into subfolders: results will include files from the folder where you are searching as well as files from folders nested within that folder.

In HoudahSpot you can list folders where you want to search. You can also exclude folders (and their subfolders) from the search: just drag the folder from the breadcrumb path at the bottom of the HoudahSpot window to the Locations/Exclude list.

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.

Sometimes you want to see only results from the top-level folder. You can repeat the above procedure to exclude more folders. Excluding all subfolders, one by one would be tedious. We will use a filter instead. Continue reading Non-Recursive Search: Find Top-Level Files Only

Efficient File Searches using Filters

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.

You can, of course, use HoudahSpot to search in multiple folders at once. HoudahSpot also allows you to exclude folders from your search.

Screenshot: Smart Folder Exclusion
Multiple search locations. Smart exclusion

You do, however, need to list the folders you want to search or exclude. Since the Spotlight index does not know about file paths, you cannot set up a criterion on file paths.

For example, you cannot configure a search to ignore all files where some parent folder is named Temporary. You’d need to explicitly list all such Temporary folders.

Fortunately, HoudahSpot can filter search results to hide unwanted results. A single filter can prevent all Temporary files from cluttering up your file search.

Continue reading Efficient File Searches using Filters

Hook-ed on Files

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.

Of course, HoudahSpot and Hook work great together.

Continue reading Hook-ed on Files

HoudahSpot: The First 15 Years

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.

Continue reading HoudahSpot: The First 15 Years

Finding Files with Long File Names

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.

Acme Painted Tunnel Project Long File Names Continue reading Finding Files with Long File Names

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 Continue reading Working With the Tag Cloud

Video Tour of HoudahSpot 6.0

Finding files on your Mac can be a difficult and sometimes a frustrating task because of their sheer number — we all have so many!

HoudahSpot is an application that allows you to do refined searches to get just the files you are looking for and includes several useful presets right out of the box.

Todd Olthoff of ScreenCastsOnline revisits HoudahSpot and shows you all that is new in version 6.0.

Don McAllister of ScreenCastsOnline has covered HoudahSpot in the past so this screencast from Todd focuses on the updates that version 6 brings to the search party.

Below is a short preview. Watch the full show for free with a 7-day trial ScreenCastsOnline subscription. Continue reading Video Tour of HoudahSpot 6.0