Note: This blog post strays away from our usual focus on tips & tricks. It does not provide a solution or workaround for Mail searches on macOS Catalina. It rather discusses technical background and ethical considerations.
Spotlight vs. Core Spotlight
Recent versions of macOS use two indexing technologies to power local searches in the Spotlight window: Spotlight and Core Spotlight.
Spotlight was introduced with OS X 10.4 Tiger. It indexes user files. Whenever a file is modified, the Spotlight engine calls upon the appropriate importer plug-in to read metadata and text content from the file. That data is then indexed for searching.
The fact that Spotlight works only with files can be a problem for some applications. For “shoebox” applications, it is often more natural to store data items in a single file or database rather than use one file per data item. Such data items cannot be indexed by Spotlight. Thus such applications either have to change their data storage to fit Spotlight’s requirements or resort to tricks to get their data into Spotlight.
Core Spotlight is a more recent addition. Core Spotlight does not watch for data or files to appear. Instead, applications actively submit data to Core Spotlight for indexing. This reversal of roles allows Core Spotlight to index any kind of data. Continue reading Mail Search on MacOS Catalina
File tags can also be used to temporarily mark files. Since macOS has the handy ability to assign colors to file tags, such tags can be used to visually identify files. Both Finder and HoudahSpot flag the tagged files with colors of their tags.
This is particularly useful when shifting files around, merging folders, exporting photos to files, etc.
This is a follow-up to an older post. It has been updated for the new DEVONthink 3. Users of the older DEVONthink Pro (Office) can refer to the original post.
DEVONthink is a smart document management solution for Mac. It lets you organize and work with all your documents — bookmarks, email messages, text files, images, PDFs — in one place, regardless of where they come from.
Now that you have all your documents stored and organized in DEVONthink, you can rely on both DEVONthink and HoudahSpot to always find the piece of information you need.
In HoudahSpot you can open as many searches – windows or tabs – as you like. Sometimes you end up with more windows than you care for.
You found your file. The search is over. The next search is up. You open a fresh window. But first, you have to close the previous search. But what you actually do is delay housekeeping and clutter your screen with disused HoudahSpot windows.
Searching by file size can be very useful – not only to find and clean out large files, but also to limit search results to files large enough to be relevant.
When you add a new file size criterion to your HoudahSpot search, it defaults to searching for files that match a size you specify in MB. When searching for files larger than 1 GB, you might be tempted to type 1000 so as to avoid reaching for the mouse to change the unit from MB to GB.