HoudahSpot for Mac - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

HoudahSpot for Mac

CNET Editors' review

If you're not satisfied with the power or flexibility of the Mac's built-in Spotlight search, you should check out HoudahSpot. This app isn't a Spotlight replacement, but rather a more versatile front-end for Spotlight--as it actually uses the technology behind Spotlight to help you find files on your computer. HoudahSpot works in much the same way as Spotlight, and you can pull it up with a key combo or a menubar icon. Once you do, though, HoudahSpot offers many more search options--and it waits until you've finished forming a query rather than immediately returning results as you type (which can be one of the more frustrating aspects of Spotlight).

HoudahSpot can be intimidating at first because it offers so many search options, letting you use multiple criteria (for example, looking for text within a file, and/or certain types of files, sizes, date ranges, etc.). You can also define the folders and directories where you want HoudahSpot to look (and not look), and you can perform basic Finder functions from within HoudahSpot (like previewing, copying, moving, duplicating, and trashing files). The best part is that you can save frequently used searches as "templates," and you can even search within your results to filter out precisely the files you need. HoudahSpot also includes nice extras like a built-in "Long Lost Files" search, a Spotlight-like BlitzSearch, and integration with third-party apps like LaunchBar. Unfortunately, HoudahSpot is currently only available for Mac OS X Leopard or later (although version 1.5.1 is available as a freeware legacy version). Users new to HoudahSpot would do well to watch the video tutorial, read the "Tips and Tricks," and visit the developer's responsive forums.

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 10

  • 4.0 stars

    "excellent replacement for Spotlight"

    July 14, 2012  |   By ipol

    Version: HoudahSpot 3.5.4

    Pros

    Houdaspot has had an evolution, while Spotlight has not!

    The permanent mds problems with Spotlight can be avoided this way!

    Cons

    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.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Powerful but considerable learning curve"

    February 26, 2011  |   By Barb P

    Version: HoudahSpot 3.1.3

    Pros

    Plethora of search parameters. and you can create complex combinations of search parameters for excellent specificity

    Cons

    The very richness of the application brings a learning curve. Some search fields are not as clearly defined as they might be

    Summary

    Excellent search front end but expect to put in a modicum of time learning to use it so that you find that which you are seeking.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "OUTSTANDING AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!!"

    February 12, 2011  |   By hasadari

    Version: HoudahSpot 3.1.2

    Pros

    Excellent product with great flexibility. Very fast and thorough.

    Cons

    HoudahSpot is not the cheapest available.

    Summary

    I couldn't function without it.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Pretty decent, BUTâ?¦"

    July 22, 2010  |   By annabe11a

    Version: HoudahSpot 3.0.3

    Summary

    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.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Hard to Learn, but worth it"

    June 13, 2010  |   By solipsistic

    Version: HoudahSpot 2.7.4

    Pros

    This is a true search engine, fills needs not filled by spotlight. Love the templates.

    Cons

    Very hard to learn, but I am learning. An exercise in logic.

    Summary

    Just what I needed.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Excellent replacemet for spotlight"

    April 24, 2010  |   By Rogue

    Version: HoudahSpot 2.7

    Summary

    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

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Nice!"

    January 26, 2009  |   By VersionTrackerUserOpinion

    Version: HoudahSpot 2.4

    Summary

    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!

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Wonderful piece of software"

    January 5, 2009  |   By Sun1Wolf

    Version: HoudahSpot 2.3.2

    Summary

    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!

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Well worth the price!"

    January 2, 2009  |   By Benoit Evans

    Version: HoudahSpot 2.3.2

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    HoudahSpot runs rings around Spotlight. You can find everything you're looking for VERY quickly and you can create all the templates you need to do highly customized searches. Although HoudaSpot depends on the Spotlight index to do its searches, it seems to do them with a much higher success rate.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Fantastic add-on"

    August 2, 2008  |   By slboettcher

    Version: HoudahSpot 2.2.2

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    OK, I've now spent some time with this, and although it seems daunting at first - so many options - once you set it up to your liking, you'll wonder why Apple has not (yet) bought this great app for the next version of OS X!
    This is a fine example of how someone takes the foundation of an Apple feature and making it 500% better.
    Try it, and if you can't afford it, enroll in school and get the student discount :)

    My only suggestion is to lower the price so more folks can (and will) buy it.
    Also, a full timed-demo would be better for people to test it out.

    Scott

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HoudahSpot for Mac