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.
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 name extension. You may prefer to search your full hard drive rather than just your home folder. You may want search results to always list file size.
Let’s see how you can set up HoudahSpot so that a fresh search window matches your preferred way of searching.
The Services feature in macOS allows you to quickly perform actions – no matter what application you’re working in. HoudahSpot provides the following Services to start new searches from right where you currently are:
Search in HoudahSpot
Search Folders in HoudahSpot
New HoudahSpot Search
Services are available system-wide. Just choose Services from any application’s main menu or from the context menu. Assigning a keyboard shortcut to a Service makes access even faster.
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.
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.
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.
HoudahSpot 4.0 comes with a “droplet” that you can install in the Finder toolbar. This small application can be found from HoudahSpot > Preferences > Advanced. Follow the instructions found there to install Search.app as a Finder toolbar item.
When clicked, Search.app opens a new HoudahSpot window set to search the folder shown in the current Finder window. You can also drag and drop folders onto the toolbar item to open a new HoudahSpot window configured to search these folders.