Search DEVONthink Databases using HoudahSpot

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 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.

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Find PDF Files That Need OCR Processing

Scanning paper documents to PDF files lets you archive important (and not so important) documents without filling up cabinets.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) makes these scanned documents much more useful than their paper originals. Once a scan has been processed by OCR, the PDF file contains both an image of the document and an invisible text version. The text can then be searched using HoudahSpot.

Unfortunately, you will find that not all of your PDF files have text content. You may have forgotten to run them through OCR. Or you may have received the scanned document from someone else.

How can you find these files and rectify this?

With a little trick, HoudahSpot can find PDF files that lack text content. It is safe to assume that any text contains either a space or a period. Thus, we will be looking for any PDF file that contains neither space or period.

This translates to the following search:

Find PDF files that lack OCR text. The first search field contains a “space” character

Continue reading Find PDF Files That Need OCR Processing

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 and organize video files using HoudahSpot

With HoudahSpot, it is easy to search your hard drive for media files. Just set the Content Kind criterion to Audio, Image, or Video – and HoudahSpot will look for files of the type specified.

If you’ve ever been looking for a specific photograph, you may have already used the pre-installed sample template named “My Photos”. It lists criteria that come in handy when searching images, like pixel count.

When searching for specific video files, other criteria come into play, e.g. duration, video codec or bit rates. We have prepared a template for HoudahSpot 4 that helps you sort through your moving images: the Video template is available for download here. It is pre-configured with a set of criteria and results columns that relate to video files. Continue reading Find and organize video files using HoudahSpot

Use existing templates with HoudahSpot 4.0

HoudahSpot 4.0 has been reimagined from the ground up. Every aspect of the application has been reevaluated. The result is a file search tool that is more powerful, streamlined and easier to use. On the downside,  HoudahSpot 4.0 cannot read saved searches created by previous versions of HoudahSpot.

The HoudahSpot Migration Tool can help convert HoudahSpot 3.x saved searches and templates for use with HoudahSpot 4.0. Continue reading Use existing templates with HoudahSpot 4.0

Templates for recurring searches

This post refers to HoudahSpot 3. The same general ideas still apply. HoudahSpot 4 does not differentiate “live templates” and “ready templates”. For more info on using templates in HoudahSpot 4 , see “Save Queries for Recurring Searches“.

HoudahSpot searches can be saved as documents. These persist all aspects of your customized search: query, locations, columns, sort order, etc. Continue reading Templates for recurring searches