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.

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How-to: Customize the HoudahSpot Alfred Workflow

Alfred by Running with Crayons Ltd. is an award-winning app for macOS which boosts your efficiency with hotkeys, keywords, text expansion and more.

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

HoudahSpot 5 includes an Alfred workflow that provides an elegant way to start a HoudahSpot search using Alfred. You can install this workflow from HoudahSpot > Preferences > Extensions.

Note: Workflows are part of the extended Alfred feature set. This needs to be unlocked by purchasing the Alfred Powerpack .

Screenshot: Alfred in action
Start a file search from Alfred

The workflow is triggered using the hs keyword in Alfred. You may need to use the arrow keys to select the workflow. Press the space key to activate the workflow.

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Other Uses for macOS File Tags

We have seen that file tags can be used to build or complement a filing system.

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.

Screenshot: File tags in Finder used to mark files in a merged folder
Merged Folder: Files from 3 Different Sources

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Search DEVONthink 3 Databases using HoudahSpot

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.

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HoudahSpot and ForkLift

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

ForkLift

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.

Screenshot: ForkLift. Search in HoudahSpot
ForkLift Commands Menu: Search in HoudahSpot

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Use Tags to Organize and Find Files

What are File Tags?

File tags are keywords you assign to files. They allow you to organize and find files.

Example of tagged file: a paid invoice
Example of tagged file: a paid invoice

Organize Files: Folders or Tags?

File tags allow you to organize files when a simple folder structure won’t do. Better yet: file tags can improve your existing filing strategy and make files easier to find. Continue reading Use Tags to Organize and Find Files

How-to: Customize the HoudahSpot LaunchBar Action

Objective Development’s LaunchBar is an adaptive app launcher, document browser, and much more.

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

HoudahSpot 5 includes a LaunchBar action that provides an elegant way to start a HoudahSpot search using LaunchBar. You can install this action from HoudahSpot > Preferences > Extensions.

Screenshot: LaunchBar in action
Start a file search from LaunchBar 6

The action is selected by typing the hs abbreviation in LaunchBar.

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Hidden Gem: New Search – Old Window

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.

Continue reading Hidden Gem: New Search – Old Window

HoudahSpot and Default Folder X

HoudahSpot 5.0 works with St. Clair Software’s Default Folder X to deliver files where you need them.

Default Folder X enhances open and save file dialogs on macOS. It provides quick access to favorite folders and recent files. With Default Folder X you can manage and organize files without having to jump over to Finder.

Select “Search with HoudahSpot” from Default Folder X’s Utility menu
Find files: Select “Search with HoudahSpot” from Default Folder X’s Utility menu

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Quickly Switch Between File Size or Time Units

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.

Actually, there is a much easier way.

Screenshot: Switch between KB/MG/KB using letter keys
Quickly switch between file size units

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