An advanced search utility, HoudahSpot for Mac offers plenty of search filters and features, which enable you to do more thorough searches. It's a capable app but not necessarily easy to use.
Comprehensive search: HoudahSpot for Mac supports multiple search options, such as grouping the searches or using user-defined groups, and can search file attributes and the content of text files. It can also do a fuzzy search using the parameters you enter.
Include and exclude locations: The search can be limited to a certain location on the computer, or it can be specific to certain folders on user-mounted volumes or Spotlight indexed pages. Explicit locations can also be excluded.
Interface full of options: Integrating with Spotlight to help you find files on your computer, it features an interface that looks like Finder, except for the sidebar full of filters and options.
Not for simple searches: Simple searches can be done more easily with Spotlight.
Not for beginners: As an advanced search tool, it might not appeal to beginners. There are too many options that can easily confuse a beginner.
Search parameters can be contradictory: If you're not paying attention to all the search parameters you choose, you might end up with conflicting filters.
HoudahSpot for Mac proves to be a potent search tool that allows you to filter many search results fairly quickly. However, this app can be counterintuitive to basic searches, for which filters are seldom needed. This app is definitely not for beginners -- grab it only if you must search through thousands of files using many filters.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of HoudahSpot for Mac 3.9.2.
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From Houdah Software:
HoudahSpot is a powerful file search tool for Mac. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot builds upon Spotlight, which comes preinstalled with OS X. Start with a simple search. Refine it by adding and combining criteria. Quickly sort through search results. Add columns. Apply filters. Preview files and text matches. If you've ever had a hard time finding a file before, this is what you've been looking for. Find files by name, text, content kind, author, recipient, pixel count. Combine criteria to narrow down search results. Specify which folders to search and which ones to exclude. Add any of the hundreds of columns available. Apply filters to reduce search results to only the relevant items. Preview files and text matches. Open files and, where the application supports it, continue searching for text matches by pressing command-G (Find Next). Set up templates for recurring searches.
Houdaspot has had an evolution, while Spotlight has not!
The permanent mds problems with Spotlight can be avoided this way!
Somewhat to versatile. A simpler (free) version for starters would probably be a good commercial approach as it would attract users to Houdaspot and allow them to grow (and buy) the somewhat frightening "Pro" kind of version.
This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. The "sort columns" for the query results list is driving me BONKERS! Every time, and I mean EVERY TIME I start a new search (even with templates) the column view settings I patiently configured to my liking disappear and I have to do it all over again. IT'S MADDENING! I've tried tweaking the columns and re-saving the templates, saving copies as new templates, etc, and nothing, nadda.
It may sound trivial but it becomes very frustrating very quickly when having to re-enable the info columns you want to see AND also have to use your mouse to re-drag each column to re-establish the width. OMG DRIVES ME CRAZY!
In a nutshell, Houdahspot's GUI Spotlight search capabilities are much more granular than the Finder's, but the Finder DEFINITELY trumps Houdahspot's ability to display the search results. Which leads me to wonder why Houdahspot doesn't allow users to save searches as actual Smart Folders that can then be accessed via the Finder. That way the tool can focus on constructing search queries and then hand off the display responsibilities to the Finder.
This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. I use to have constant problems with spotlight (and still do when I try it). Spotlight would not find files which I know I have stored somewhere. Only way to make spotlight work is to rebuild its database, which take a while. HondahSpot just works. Use the template to setup searches which I use a lot, any problems which I have found (very very few) have been fixed with the next release.
Excellent replacement for spotlight
Version: HoudahSpot 2.4
This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. This is a terrific piece of software. I don't use Spotlight anymore and find the UI for HoudahSpot superior. Nice addition to the Mac OS. Try it - you'll like it!
This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com. Since I downloaded HoudahSpot a few months ago I wonder how I could do without it. It is far superior to Spotlight, which I stopped using altogether. Searching is flawless, you can search for a range of various criteria. Searching is fast, delivers good results, and so far I did not find a single glitch or bug.
A really well done piece of software. Well done, Houdah!