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.
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.
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.
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.
In HoudahSpot, search templates serve as starting points for searches that you perform repeatedly.
HoudahSpot comes with a set of sample templates. These include, for example, a template for finding photos. This template is set up to search for image files having a resolution of at least 7 MP. Search results show image previews. The Refine pane is pre-configured for searches by camera make and model, ISO speed, and flash settings. To find photos you just need to fill in the blanks and start the search.
Templates can also act as dynamic file lists. The Recent Files template, for example, lists files used or modified within the last 7 days.
You will certainly create your own templates or customize the sample templates to fit your needs. You may, for example, want to update the My Photos template to search only for files matching your camera make and model.
As templates become a central part of your workflow, you will want quick access to your favorite ones.
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
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.
Recent updates improve the integration between Houdah Software’s HoudahSpot and BinaryNights’ ForkLift.
HoudahSpot is a file search tool that helps Mac users organize files and finds these if they did not.
ForkLift is an advanced dual pane file manager and file transfer client for macOS. With ForkLift you can browse, manage, and organize files. ForkLift can access remote volumes, sync folders, and much more
The Search in HoudahSpot command in ForkLift allows you to start a HoudahSpot search focussed on the folder you are currently browsing in ForkLift. It is found in the Commands menu.
This tool makes use of HoudahSpot’s custom URL scheme. It can be customized from the Commands > Manage Tools… menu item. Refer to the ForkLift User Manual for more details about custom tools. The HoudahSpot User Guide describes the various options of the houdahspot4:// URL scheme.