For those of you looking to increase your productivity on your Mac, look no further than HoudahSpot 6. It’s a powerful, versatile, and highly customizable Mac search tool that’s designed to build off of the existing Spotlight search tool to bring all of your project files together. Today, we look at HoudahSpot 6, a Mac search tool like none other.
Note: This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Houdah Software. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
What Is HoudahSpot?
HoudahSpot is a Mac search tool that offers tons of customizable options that allow you to go to one place to find all your project files. You can search everything from your files, folders, mounted network drives, and even your Mail app. Plus, you can sort and filter results by date, author, file size, image dimension, and audio codec.
The two different options built into macOS are both powerful for their own reasons. The Spotlight search tool is an excellent spot to quickly find top results. However, for a strict file search tool, it’s not as powerful as many would like. You have to be very specific in order to find the document that you specifically want, which may not be very useful if you have several living documents in a folder for a project that has taken months or even years.
Finder file search is the answer to that problem, but it’s almost too good in one certain way: there’s no filtering. So you face the same result from the opposite problem. You have to be very specific, otherwise you’ll end up with an extremely large list. That’s where HoudahSpot comes in. You can search all your files and emails like a person would, where you remember important details, but not the exact specifics, and HoudahSpot will deliver the results you’re looking for.
A Closer Look at HoudahSpot 6
Diving in to take a deeper look at how HoudahSpot works, the interface is about what you’d expect. There’s a search bar at the top, search parameter options on the left, and a large blank area where search results will be displayed. It’s a simple, clean user interface that blends and integrates well with the macOS Big Sur theme.
Performing your first search is as simple as typing in the file you’re looking for, but you can customize things as much as you want. In the screenshot below, you can see that you can get so specific that you can look for images that are 512 pixels in width that contain “icon” in their name and also contain either “HoudahSpot” or “HoudahGeo”. That brings up only the 4 files you want, whereas if you searched for “icon” in Finder, you may get thousands of hits.
Moreover, you can add (or exclude) different locations on your system. Because of its Unix genes, macOS treats every storage location on your computer as a file. Your hard drive, external USB hard drives, and network shares are found the same way that files are, so it’s very easy to include or ignore them in a file search tool like HoudahSpot. You can exclude every location but the USB hard drive that you have attached to your system, exclude any network-shared drives that you have mounted on your system, or only look within your “Documents” folder among the sea of documents you have there.
You can see the power of HoudahSpot start to unfold here, where you can exercise full control over your files on your system. Plus, you can specifically include or exclude files marked with a given Tag, which is helpful for those who tag their files and set properties as parameters, like whether they contain text content or not.
There are also some search parameter templates that you can use. One of the most useful ones is “Apple Mail Messages,” which will configure HoudahSpot to only search your emails from Apple Mail. There’s also “Long Lost Files,” that specifically looks for files that are older than five years old and sorts them by modification date. Plus, you can create your own templates to use later, so if you want to only search a file server you’re connected to for a particular kind of file, you can create that, too.
Another thing I love is that you don’t even have to open the documents one at a time to make sure they’re the right ones. There are document previews in the right sidebar to display compatible document types. You can look right into your documents and see what you’re looking for without eating up valuable time or system resources. You can even look into shell scripts, which can be invaluable for administrators, scientists, or other power users looking for the Bash script for that particular moment.
That sidebar also has metadata about files in your search results or files that you drag and drop from Finder, which you can use to filter your results even further.
Who Should Use HoudahSpot 6?
Everybody who owns a Mac should use HoudahSpot 6. This is especially true if you do real work on your Mac or don’t take particularly good care to keep your Mac’s hard drive clean. Documents can build up over many years using a particular system, and HoudahSpot can take an unorganized folder of documents and make heads and tails of it for you.
HoudahSpot makes it easy to keep track of all your projects and personal documents on your Mac, and $34 for a single user with $19 for major version upgrades, I’d say that the time you save will more than make up for that cost over time.