Find MacOS Files by Extension

The default search form in HoudahSpot lets you to search for files by name, text content and content kind.

Default HoudahSpot search
A fresh HoudahSpot search window

When you know the type of the file you are looking for, you may want to search by file extension.

Let’s say, you want to search for .png files. Here is how:

  1. Click the pop-up menu that is currently set to “Content Kind” and select “File Extension”
  2. Type “png” in the form field on the same row
Search for .png files

Do you frequently search by file extension? Wouldn’t it be convenient if the “File Extension” search was available by default?
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Search for Top Level Files. Exclude Subfolders

HoudahSpot searches always go into subfolders. For example, when you search in your home folder, you can find letters saved to your Documents folder.

When you don’t want files from a subfolder to clutter search results, excluding the subfolder is easy: just drag the folder from the breadcrumb path at the bottom of the HoudahSpot window to the Locations/Exclude list.

You can repeat the procedure to exclude more folders. But if you want to see only results from the top level folder, it is easier to use the path filter to simply hide results from nested folders.

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How to Access Hidden Folders

In macOS, it’s possible to hide folders. The user Library folder, for example, is hidden by default. Hidden folders are invisible to the Finder and don’t show up in open/save dialog boxes.

What can you do if you need to access a hidden folder, e.g. when searching for a specific file within? Continue reading How to Access Hidden Folders

Save HoudahSpot Searches as Finder Smart Folders

In Mac OS X’s Finder, you can save searches as “Smart Folders”. These give you quick access to all your files that meet certain criteria. For example, all Microsoft Word files modified this month. All JPG photos taken with a specific camera. Or all e-mails you’ve received from certain senders within the last seven days.

Because Mac OS X Smart Folders are actually saved searches, they differ from regular folders: they don’t actually hold anything – they only list files stored elsewhere. The content of Smart Folder is not static but dynamic. It is updated continuously as new files come to meet the smart folder’s search criteria. This means that its content changes every time files on your Mac are added, changed, or removed.

With HoudahSpot (4.1 or later), you can easily set up a search and export it as a Finder Smart Folder.

Continue reading Save HoudahSpot Searches as Finder Smart Folders

Creating Snippets in HoudahSpot

In HoudahSpot, snippets let you to set aside frequently used combinations of search criteria. HoudahSpot comes with a few pre-installed snippets, but you can also define your own.

Snippets can hold a single search criterion or a group of criteria that serve a certain purpose. The pre-installed snippet “Date Created range”, for example, holds two criteria in an “All of the following are true” group: “Content created before” and “Content created after”. Use this snippet whenever you want to find files created in a range of dates.

HoudahSpot's Sidebar & Refine Pane
Drag the snippet from the sidebar to refine pane (example: Date range snippet)

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Find Files from a List of Names

Sometimes, you get a list of file names and need to find the actual files. You may be a photographer who sent out a contact sheet for photo proofing and got back an email listing the images to be printed. Or you may have sent friends messages with tiny photos and got a reply asking for larger copies of images 7359, 7365 and 7366.

HoudahSpot can help you work through such notes and collect the requested files. Continue reading Find Files from a List of Names

Find Copies of a Specific File

You can use HoudahSpot to find out whether a specific file on your Mac has identical twins somewhere in your file system.

This comes in handy if you want to make sure you have a backup copy before you start working on a file. Or you may want to check if a specific file – e.g. in your Dropbox folder – is a copy and not the original before you delete it.

Continue reading Find Copies of a Specific File