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Searching Apple Mail Messages

The good news: HoudahSpot 6.0 can again find Apple Mail message files!

With macOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple moved the indexing of Mail messages files from traditional Spotlight to “Core Spotlight.” The problem with this change is that Core Spotlight does not allow searching by third-party applications like HoudahSpot.

More precisely, applications are only allowed to search data they have submitted themselves. Thus the Mail application can call upon Core Spotlight to find messages. Core Spotlight is of no use to search tools like HoudahSpot. HoudahSpot does not manage or create data and thus never has data to submit to Core Spotlight. Instead, as a HoudahSpot user, you expect to find all kinds of files regardless of which application created the files.

This limitation of Core Spotlight does not only interfere with search tools. Many other utilities, scripts, and productivity tools suffer from the fact that messages, notes, and bookmarks are no longer searchable. Previously, a contact manager like BusyContacts could rely on Spotlight to watch for mail messages and maintain an activity list for each contact.

Continue reading Searching Apple Mail Messages

macOS Big Sur Compatibility

macOS Big Sur introduces the biggest design update to macOS since the introduction of Mac OS X. Still HoudahSpot, HoudahGeoTembo and Type2Phone look quite at home on the new version of macOS.

As always, we recommend you hold off upgrading for at least a couple of weeks and give Apple a chance to fix the most glaring bugs.

HoudahSpot will soon get a major upgrade. HoudahSpot 6.0 will fully adopt the new appearance of macOS Big Sur. First and foremost, the upgrade will bring a host of new features and enhancements. You can check out the latest beta by signing up for the HoudahSpot beta newsletter.

HoudahSpot

HoudahSpot icon
HoudahSpot: Powerful File Search for Mac

HoudahSpot 5.1.6 has been updated to work with macOS 11.

With the release of macOS 10.15 last year, Apple no longer allows third-party applications access to the search index for Apple Mail messages. The situation has not improved with the release of macOS 11.

The upcoming HoudahSpot 6.0 upgrade will include a plug-in for the Apple Mail application. This will again allow HoudahSpot to search Mail messages.

 

HoudahGeo

HoudahGeo icon
Photo Geocoding and Geotagging for Mac

HoudahGeo 6.0.8 has been updated to work with macOS 11.

HoudahGeo has also been verified to work with the latest version of Apple Photos and Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

 

Tembo

Tembo icon
Tembo: Easy and Efficient File Search for Mac

Tembo 2.6 has been updated to work with macOS 11.

Like HoudahSpot, Tembo relies on the Spotlight index to find files. When run on macOS Catalina or Big Sur, Tembo will not be able to search Apple Mail messages.

 

Type2Phone

Type2Phone: Use your Mac as a Bluetooth Keyboard

Type2Phone 3.1.2 has been tested to work with macOS 11 to connect to iOS 14.

Tembo 2.5 Video Tutorial

ScreenCastsOnline have published a short video tutorial that showcases Tembo – the friendly file search tool.

In this 10-minute video, Don McAllister gives you a tour of Tembo and highlights what makes Tembo unique. Sometimes good things come in small packages. This adage applies equally to this screencast and to Tembo.

 

Continue reading Tembo 2.5 Video Tutorial

CustomShortcuts 1.0 – Free Tool to Customize Menu Shortcuts

Are you using the same menu item over and again? Are you always reaching for the mouse because that menu item has no keyboard shortcut?

Are there keyboard shortcuts you simply can’t remember? Have you noticed that a key shortcut that might be easy to reach on a US keyboard layout requires two hands on your keyboard?
CustomShortcuts 1.0 Screenshot
Continue reading CustomShortcuts 1.0 – Free Tool to Customize Menu Shortcuts

Use “Service Station” to Start a HoudahSpot File Search From Finder

Service Station is a new utility by Knurling Group to customize the Finder context menu with applications and scripts. It is a free download with in-app purchases on the Mac App Store.Screenshot: Finder Context Menu with Service Station Extension

HoudahSpot by Houdah Software is a powerful file search tool for macOS. It takes the guesswork out of Spotlight searches and helps you find files hidden deep in the “haystack” of files accumulated over the years.

You can point HoudahSpot at a particular Finder folder using the Services menu or the HoudahSpot Finder toolbar item.

Service Station can put HoudahSpot at the top level of the Finder context menu. You can then right-click or control-click a selection of folders in Finder and start a new HoudahSpot search within these folders.

Continue reading Use “Service Station” to Start a HoudahSpot File Search From Finder

Apply Color Tags to Files Using Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

In previous posts, we looked at how using tags can help you organize your files and folders and quickly locate them when they’re needed.

We have already explored the different ways you can use HoudahSpot to tag files. In this post, we will focus on keyboard shortcuts for fast tagging.

Continue reading Apply Color Tags to Files Using Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

Find Multiple Files. Find Files From a List of Names

HoudahSpot is a file search tool that builds upon macOS Spotlight. You turn to HoudahSpot when you need to:

  • Find a specific file. The proverbial needle in a haystack. A specific song. A letter you want to use as a template
  • Browse files related to a specific task or subject. Review research material, documentation, client correspondence, etc.
  • Collect files that share a common property. Tagged files. Photos and videos from last summer

What if you need a specific set of files? E.g. multiple files of which you have the names in an email, a CSV list, or a spreadsheet. HoudahSpot can help you with that too.

HoudahSpot: Find Files From a List of Names
Search for a list of files

Continue reading Find Multiple Files. Find Files From a List of Names

Mail Search on MacOS Catalina

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

Tagging Files Using HoudahSpot

After looking at file tags for organizing files as well as some more creative uses, we looked at using HoudahSpot to find tagged files. Now let’s look at tagging files using HoudahSpot.

Tagging multiple files
File tagging pop-over in HoudahSpot

Again, there are different methods you can choose from. Pick the one that best fits your workflow or personal preference. Continue reading Tagging Files Using HoudahSpot

Use HoudahSpot to Search for Tagged Files

In previous posts, we saw how to organize files using folders and tags and looked at other uses of tags and labels.

Let’s move on to the most important step: finding your files. HoudahSpot can, of course, search for files by tags or by a combination of tags.

Favorite Tags

The most obvious way to search for tagged files uses the sidebar of a HoudahSpot search window. Select View > Show Sidebar from the menu to reveal the sidebar.

Click a tag to find files with that tag.

Click the All Tagged Files item in the sidebar to find files that have at least one tag.

Continue reading Use HoudahSpot to Search for Tagged Files