Spotlight alternative with instant preview and highlighting

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Detektiv-Pinky, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2006
    Berlin, Germany
    As much as I love the tight integration of Spotlight, I miss one feature:

    I want to immediately have a look at the document that is found and be able to locate the search terms within (going from one place to the next).

    I am using Copernic Desktop Search on my PC and it immediately provides a preview of the search term in the document.
    Is there a similar free program for the Mac?
    I found Foxtrot, but it is 29$ just for the Personal Edition :(
  2. bagpuss macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2008
    Any joy on this? I'm looking for something just the same.

    Just moved to the Mac. Having used Copernic, Spotlight is so frustrating and limiting.

    What's the best alternative that's most similar to Copernic? (Tried Google desktop on windows, but went back to Copernic.)
  3. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    EagleFiler is a little more involved than just a Spotlight front-end, but it does really fast text search and highlighting. It also has more heavy-duty document organization and tagging, but the database is just a folder hierarchy, so you can browse your documents with the Finder as well. I have over 9000 documents in my database and the performance is admirable.
  4. bagpuss macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2008
    Hmm, thanks dolphin, that looks interesting, more what I'm looking for. Might give that a go. I like the fact that it supports boolean searches and has a good preview window for multiple file types.

    It seems that it involves quite a high degree of input to get stuff into the index. I want something that, like Copernic and Spotlight, does it all automatically.

    Foxtrot looks like it does that, but as far as I can see it's 29 EUROS for the personal edition and the pro one, which has a couple of features I think would be important (multiple search criteriae, narrow search to specific folders, search bookmarks) is a whopping 99 euros (about $145).
    It would have to be amazing to be worth that much, especially to one who is used to the brilliant Copernic for free!
  5. Trip.Tucker Guest

    Mar 13, 2008
  6. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Putting stuff in EagleFiler is pretty easy. You can highlight-click-drag part of a webpage page into the database and it fills in the URL metadata automatically. There is also a hotkey-invoked capture function that lets you send something directly to the database, or pops up with a window for metadata/tag input. To get started, you can just drag your existing folder structure into the program and it'll index everything. Is this what you're looking for, or does Copernic do something more that I'm missing?

    I love Quicksilver, but it's not the right tool for what's needed here. All it does is let you do instant searching of a catalog of filenames, not the text inside of them.
  7. bagpuss macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2008
    Thanks again dolphin. Maybe I'm asking too much!

    As a long time pc user (and support supplier), there are lots of things that I find "pretty easy" on computers. After years of resisting, a couple of months ago I finally gave in to the pestering from my friends a bought a MBP. This was largely because I had almost run out of soul, such was the "experience" of the stunningly unreliable and sluggish Vista. But it was also because I wanted less "pretty easy" and more "just works"!

    I must admit that I like the capturing snapshots of web pages etc that EagleFiler offers and may get it anyway. But the indexing is not the "just works"-without-me-thinking service that I'm looking for.

    For me, the brilliance of Copernic was this: I want to find something that I think came to me in an email a few months back and at the time I didn't think was important (read: didn't capture to EagleFiler). Now I want to find it by putting in some keywords that I think would have been in the body of that message. Copernic would show me previews of all corresponding emails in the preview pane. Spotlight requires one to open each email one by one, check, then close it.

    I really hope I can find something that does the job. I'm much enjoying the "just works" aspect of macs. (Time Machine with my new Time Capsule? Brilliant...) There are few things I miss about the pc. Copernic is one.

    I'm still on a learning curve, I know, and I'm doing my best find solutions to my quibbles.

    Thanks again for all input.

    (FWIW: other things I miss? Excel 2007, Outlook 2007 (the full one) (just calm down everyone, those two are very good bits of software!), Netstumbler. And also my six year old Microsoft Office Keyboard with cut, copy paste buttons on the side working properly. It's a driver issue, I know, and in all fairness it didn't work properly in Vista either. There you go, I'll finish with a microsoft annoyance: why don't they support their own hardware in their own operating systems? :) )
  8. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Alright, now I have a better idea of what you're after. Copernic basically hooks itself into the filesystem, much like Spotlight, and can search everything, everywhere without importing. So the technology is present here on the Mac; it's just a problem of interface.

    I've got to run... but two possibilities occur off the top of my head. One, EagleFiler offers a capacity to automatically import mail messages, but that's just for e-mail. Second, perhaps PathFinder has the preview-with-highlighting function you're looking for (it certainly has everything else, including the kitchen sink and a terminal prompt :rolleyes:). Other than that, do some searches for 'spotlight alternative / front-end' or something like that; there is a small cottage industry of providing different interfaces to Spotlight, and one might just have what you're looking for.
  9. philosopherdog macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2008
    Try Spotinside

    Try a program called spotinside . It's similar to Copernic, although it seems a bit complicated for the casual user. It's free however!

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