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HoudahSpot 2.5.2 review

HoudahSpot super-charges file searching, but do you really need it?

HoudahSpot 2.5.2
You can search by multiple criteria more easily than in OS X's Finder

Our Verdict

Many users will find its features unnecessary


  • Comprehensive search criteria
  • Performs searches by exclusion


  • Will be overkill for many users
  • Complex interface

HoudahSpot builds upon Apple's Spotlight engine to provide more detailed and accessible search facilities.

You can hunt for files by criteria including name, textual content, kind of file, dates last opened and modified, disk location and a lot more.

Other features include finding by example – letting you drag a found file into the criteria to narrow your found set to those which match it in a particular respect – and searching by exclusion, in which you define what you're looking for by what it isn't.

As with any file-finding app, HoudahSpot's value depends on how much data you have, how well it's organised, and how much you've forgotten about. Using a small number of files in familiar locations on a regular basis, we didn't actually need most of its functionality and often resorted to good old CMD+F.

It also occasionally failed to find files that undoubtedly existed, though this is much more likely explained by an interface which makes it too easy to overlook inadvertently-applied criteria than by an actual failure to locate files. Oddly-written, somewhat jargony help doesn't assist in that respect.

If you frequently find yourself trying to pin down files of which you have only a sketchy memory, HoudahSpot may work for you. But if you're happy with Finder's search functionality, you don't need to add Houdah's.

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