HoudahSpot version 5 is out, beta version 6 now available!

HoudahSpot has a new version 5 coming in Februari 2019. It has an open beta available at:

HoudahSpot licenses bought on or after October 1, 2018 will upgrade for free.

Listed new features are:

  • Smart Text Preview: Focus on paragraphs that match your search
  • Finder Extension: Summon HoudahSpot from Finder and from open/save dialogs
  • Recent Attributes: HoudahSpot remembers recently used search attributes and result columns
  • Recent Values: HoudahSpot remembers recently used file extensions, tags, and file types
  • Enhanced Grid View: See pertinent file info right next to name and icon
  • Arranged Results: Group search results by date, size, or application
  • Dark Mode: HoudahSpot looks good in black
  • Touch Bar: Access common functions from the comfort of your keyboard
  • Faster File Tagging: Custom keyboard shortcuts, favorite, and recent tags
  • Compact Mode: Shrink the HoudahSpot window to allow for easier drag-and-drop to other applications
  • Vertical Layout: Show details and previews below search results. Save screen space
  • Fewer Windows: Reset a search. Start over with a new search in the current window
  • New Icon: There are many more noteworthy enhancements. Yet the icon is the most visible change

If you are wondering for the why of HoudahSpot, see, e.g. the thread HoudahSpot – instant buy:

The this quote from the post by @JoelAnderson in What’s your favorite app that even Apple power users don’t know about, but should?:

HoudahSpot - for turbo-charged searching, and especially for the creation/export of saved searches as “Smart Folders” (for more on this see my discussion with David & Katie on MPU #245


I absolutely LOVE this software. I use this so much everyday. I NEVER use spotlight and just passed over some usability issues. Highly recommended to anyone that wants to simplify search and find everything.

Houdah Spot is one of those apps that should be shipped with every Mac. It is essential.

Has anyone tried the beta yet?

Have been testdriving it since the 25th of January (and renewed my license). I really like it. Having the previews of results, and being able to search all Devonthink databases with HoudahSpot are very useful.

For integration in your regular workflows, HoudahSpot is offering extensions in its Preferences for:

  • Finder
  • Quick Actions
  • Alfred Workflows
  • Launchbar Actions
  • Popclip Actions

And just today I saw the tweet by DefaultFolder, also offering integration with sending Houdahspot results to their open dialogues:

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Terrific news on both fronts. All those integrations and new features will be excellent to have. Thanks for posting this!

Well now you can’t download the beta & it’s coming soon…can’t wait.

You can again download the beta from http://houdah.com/houdahSpot/beta/

You are no longer asked to sign up for the beta mailing list. The beta should automatically suggest you update to the release version once that is available. The only thing missing from the current beta is the user guide.

The latest beta is basically a release candidate. Unlike earlier betas it requires a license.

Got 5. Bought 5. Using 5!

Great product. Thank you @houdah.

I just got v 5 and I’m finding it a little disappointing. I had hoped that the smart text preview would also me to select multiple documents and focus into all of their matching paragraphs at once. No such luck. And the actual focusing can’t be adjusted (e.g. adjacent # of words, lines, paragraphs) as I had hoped.

Search results can’t be grouped by tag. You can get around this by exporting results as a smart folder and then grouping that in Finder but it’s a rather inelegant workaround.

Still happy to pay for a program I use daily but I had hoped for more.

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HoudahSpot 6.0 is currently in beta testing. You can download it directly.

HoudahSpot can now group search results by tags. As well as by volume, application, date, and size.

  • HoudahSpot 6.0 can again search Apple Mail message files
  • It now has a tag cloud
  • There are new filter options and filters can be combined
  • It is now possible to search for files having or missing a specific attribute. E.g. PDF files without text content. These may need OCR processing

How did you get around the Mail restrictions?

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I’ve wanted to test it out. Thanks!

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I have Houdah Spot 5: it is well known that it won’t search emails, 6 it seems will. however it doesn’t seem to find emails I move into DEVONthink 3 or anything in the DEVONthink 3 Inbox. I tried adding that to the list of search locations but it still didn’t work. It really isn’t working well for me, I appreciate every app can’t integrate prefectly with every other one. However DEVONthink 3 is my essential app and Houdah Spot is not good really to me unless it plays perfectly with it.

HoudahSpot should find your DEVONthink items once you enable Spotlight indexing for your DEVONthink catalog.

Please contact support at houdah.com should that not work for you.


HoudahSpot 6.0 will include a plug-in that runs within the Mail application. The HoudahSpot application talks to that plug-in and through it gets access to Mail data.


Thank you so much for the quick response. It worked, I didn’t even know about that box at all. I have been trying to fix this off and on for weeks.

Your helpfulness and generosity with time is the kind of thing that makes or breaks my feelings towards an app.
I find the restrictions and Apple side blocks quite fiddly now and some apps have a real learning curve.

I have to say I had an analogous problem with Drafts: the developer was great and helpful but the box ticking I was told to do didn’t help and I gave the app up as not being worth the trouble by that point… I think Apple should take care here frankly. I am a fan boy BUT that is mainly because of some of the software they support so well, or did.