Search Perfect revisited: SearchKeyLite is even easier to use

In a bid to make it even easier to tag files with extended attributes, so enhancing Spotlight search, I now offer SearchKeyLite.

SearchKeyLite supports file drag-and-drop, and has a sleeker interface for working with normal documents. Put it in your Dock, for instance, and you can drag a group of files to it, and add or edit their metadata very quickly.


It adopts a slightly different approach to the task of adding, for example, just creator and copyright metadata to a group of documents. Set a window up for one document, with those two boxes filled and the other three empty, then Copy All (⌘⇧C) from that window, and Paste All (⌘⇧V) into the other open windows. As empty boxes don’t overwrite existing metadata, the contents of those other attributes are left unchanged. Save the files, and they’re done.

There are some features of SearchKey which are not in this ‘Lite’ version:

  • SearchKeyLite has no batch mode, so if you have a large hierarchy of folders and files, SearchKey is still the better;
  • SearchKeyLite doesn’t accept dragged and dropped folders, nor will it open bundles like Photos Libraries;
  • SearchKeyLite can’t strip unwanted attributes;
  • SearchKeyLite can’t normally see or open hidden files or folders, although you can use the ⌘⇧. shortcut in its Open File dialog to enable access to them;
  • SearchKeyLite can’t save a set of extended attributes as a text file.

I am also hoping that SearchKeyLite will operate as a Finder Service, allowing you to select various documents, then edit their metadata using the Finder’s Services menu. At present, that feature doesn’t work, despite my repeated attempts. The only other shortcoming of which you should be aware is that SearchKeyLite doesn’t yet warn you if you’re about to close a changed document which hasn’t been saved – that is because of the internal complexities of the Cocoa document architecture, which don’t work comfortably with extended attributes.

SearchKeyLite should work fully on El Capitan, Sierra, and High Sierra, and version 1.0b9 is available from here: searchkeylite10b9
and in Downloads above.

Please give it a try, and let me know what needs to be fixed or improved.