FoxTrot Search FAQ
Everything you always wanted to know about FoxTrot but were afraid to ask
Why are documents displayed in plain text?
No Quick Look plugin
FoxTrot relies on two different components to index and display documents created by third party applications: a Spotlight metadata importer to get the document’s content as indexable text, and a Quick Look plugin to display the formatted document. In case a third party application only provides the former, then FoxTrot can only display a plain text version of the document.
If the found files can no longer be accessed, FoxTrot will display their plain text version stored in the index.
This can occur if the file has been deleted, renamed or moved to a different location, or if one of its parent folders has been renamed or moved, or if the file is stored on an external or network drive that is not currently connected, or if access permissions have been changed for the file itself, or for one of its parent folders.
Check the path of the file, which is displayed at the bottom of the preview pane. You can also use the “copy path” contextual menu item; then paste the path in a Text Edit window and verify it is correct.
Plain text display type
The Display Type popup menu, in the window toolbar, lets you choose, for each file extension (e.g. .pdf, .html…), whether you prefer to view the files using FoxTrot’s rich preview (which relies on Quick Look plugins for many file types, but with a highlighting of the found words), or to view them in plain text, or using macOS’s Quick Look view (with no highlighting of the found words), or to just view a file thumbnail.
Incorrect File Sharing integration
When searching a remote index (shared by another FoxTrot Pro with a multiuser license, or by FoxTrot Server), sharing must be correctly configured so that the client machine will be able to locate the found files. On the server (or on the machine sharing the index), make sure that File Sharing integration is checked in the sharing pane of the index, then make sure that the three following items are correctly configured: Shared folder, volume name and auto-mount URL. They may have been set to default values that may be inadequate. After modifying these parameters, it might be necessary to quit and relaunch FoxTrot on the client machine.
Why can’t FoxTrot highlight certain occurrences in some found documents?
First, the occurrences may be found in the metadata (filename, parent folder name, author…), while the preview only highlight occurrences found in the content.
Then, FoxTrot uses a different engine to display the preview, than the one used to extract indexable text from files. For some files, these two engines may not return exactly the same text.
In any case, you can option-click the found file in the search results list. This will show the plain text that has been indexed, as well as some metadata (except the filename and the parent folder name).
Why can’t I find some PDF documents?
Please read our dedicated PDF Importer Problems help section.
What is the temporary index size?
Your index needs to be compacted from time to time. This is done automatically in the background, and temporary disk space is used for this. However, this is paused when other applications have some CPU intensive activities, as well as when your disk space is getting low.
Make sure you have at least 1 GB free on disk, in addition to the size of the index itself. Also, note that compacting large index files ( > 4 GB) is considerably slower on a hard disk (it could take hours or even days for a 10 GB index) than on an SSD.
Why can’t documents be previewed nor revealed in Finder?
See Why are documents displayed in plain text?
Why can’t FoxTrot connect to an index?
If you get an error message telling that FoxTrot can’t connect to an index, try FoxTrot’s First Aid:
- quit FoxTrot
- press the command and option keys while launching it again
- then check the “Force-quit agents, and send report” checkbox.
If this does not fix the problem, try to restart your Mac.
Why is it slow to index?
Please read our dedicated indexing large amounts of data help section.
How do I uninstall FoxTrot Search?
Before deleting the FoxTrot application, you need to delete FoxTrot’s index files to reclaim the disk space they use.
FoxTrot Personal Search
In the Finder, press the option key and use the Go → Library menu, then locate the FoxTrot folder, and move it to the Bin.
FoxTrot Professional Search
Although index files are by default located in the FoxTrot folder, you may have stored them elsewhere. In this case, use the delete index item, in the “-” menu of the manage indices window, to manually delete each index stored elsewhere.
Then, in the Finder, press the option key and use the Go → Library menu, locate the FoxTrot folder, and move it to the Bin.
FoxTrot Search Server
First, launch the FoxTrot Server application, and make sure that start automatically is disabled.
Although index files are by default located in the FoxTrot Server folder, you may have stored them elsewhere. In this case, use the delete index item, in the “-” menu of the manage indices window of FoxTrot Search Admin, to manually delete each index stored elsewhere.
Then, in the Finder of the Mac where FoxTrot Server is running, press the option key and use the Go → Library menu, locate the FoxTrot Server folder, and move it to the Bin.
What is the rank?
The rank is the relevance of a found document, in regard to the query. It is calculated from the following elements:
- number of occurrences of each searched word in a given document.
- number of occurrences of each searched word in the whole index; i.e. if you search for the words [the] and [scarceness], a document containing 2 occurrences of [scarceness] and 1 of [the] will get a much higher rank than a document with 1 occurrence of [scarceness] and 1000 of the [the].
- length of the document, i.e. a short document with the same number of occurrences than a longer one should get a higher rank.
- proximity, i.e. a document with one occurrence of each searched word, found in the same paragraph, should get a higher rank than a comparable document where one searched word is found on page 1 and the other searched word is found on page 432. In addition, if the searched words are found consecutively, the rank will be even higher.
- whether some occurrences are found in the filename, subsidiarily in some other metadata, rather than in the contents of the document.
Then the document with the highest rank will be shown as 100%, whether it contains only 1 occurrence of the scarcest searched word, or 1000.
Exact String options
When using the includes the exact string criterion (or when using advanced filters), an option popup menu lets you ignore some characteristics of the searched string:
- Ignore Case: [foo] = [Foo] = [FOO]
- Ignore Accents: [resumé] = [resume]
- Ignore Punctuation: [foo, bar] = [foo; bar] = [foo?!... bar] = [foo bar]
- Ignore Blanks: spaces, tabs, returns and other Unicode spacing characters are ignored; [foo bar] = [foo bar] = [foobar]
- Ignore Symbols: characters classified in Unicode as: Spacing_Mark (Mc), Enclosing_Mark (Me), Math_Symbol (Sm), Currency_Symbol (Sc), Modifier_Symbol (Sk) or Other_Symbol (So) are all ignored; [$] = [€] = [<<<] = 
- Ignore Composition: in Unicode, some characters can be encoded using either a single codepoint, or a sequence of codepoints. This is especially the case for accented lowercase Roman vowels (those part of ISO-8859-1), and Korean letters. When enabled, both forms are considered equal.
FoxTrot Server certificates
FoxTrot Pro complains that a FoxTrot Server is not trusted when both conditions are met:
- the user connects to the server manually (using its hostname or IP address), instead of discovering the server automatically on your local network or VPN
- and the server uses a self-signed certificate (which is generated by default), or a certificate that can’t be fully verified (if it was not issued for the correct hostname, for example)
The user that tries to connect to the server can choose to manually trust the server by clicking the trust button, or the server’s administrator can configure FoxTrot Server with a valid certificate.
The certificate should be purchased from a Certificate Authority (CA) for the hostname used to connect to the server. Then the certificate, its private key, and the password associated to the private key should be pasted in the certificate tab, in FoxTrot Admin, when the server itself is selected.