Several years ago I was walking the floor of Macworld Expo and met Pierre Bernard. Pierre is one of the legions of smart, indie software developers that chooses to ply his trade on the Mac.
Pierre showed me HoudahSpot and explained that this application was like Spotlight search on the Mac if the Apple engineers were allowed to turn it several notches up. That was years ago and Pierre is still plugging away at making HoudahSpot the best application for finding files on your Mac. A few weeks ago, he released version 4.
While Spotlight has improved a lot since then, it still makes you jump through hoops to find files. HoudahSpot has a simple interface that lays the search criteria out for you before you start searching.
HoudahSpot can find files by name, text, content kind, author, recipient, pixel count, and many more search criteria, all of which can be mixed and matched on a single search. You can also specify which folders to search or which to exclude. There simply is no faster way to ferret out files on your Mac.
You can save frequently used search criteria as snippets to use again in the future. The app even has templates to get you started with commonly used searches, like photos or “long lost files”.
One feature, that feels a bit like witchcraft is “Find by Example”. Drag a file from search results (or from the Finder) onto a search criterion. HoudahSpot then matches the file properties and looks for other, similar files. It’s nuts.
There is a lot to like with the 4.0 update. I also just think it’s pretty great that after all these years Pierre can still pay for his shoes by making high-octane search tools for my Mac. Download the trial at the website and see if you don’t get hooked. Also, check out the online user guide and HoudahSpot tips blog for more ideas about how to use it.