Sherlock at

Sherlock is a handy technology built into the Mac OS Find utility since Mac OS 8.5. As you're likely already aware, it lets you send queries to one or more Web-based search engines without first bothering to fire up a Web browser. offers Sherlock plugins for both our REALbasic and MacPerl list archives collections. Each plugin searches all lists within their family.

To install

Just download one or both,


macperl icon

realbasic icon

and decompress the resulting files with Stuffit Expander or MindExpander. Drop the final result -- which should be named "MacPerl.src" or "REALbasic.src" onto your closed System Folder, and let the OS route them appropriately. The next time you launch Sherlock, there they'll be:

What sherlock looks like with plugins installed


The plugins include in their results the date of a given message in the Name field. This means you can sort the responses either by relevance (the default) or by date, by clicking on the header row.

Two sorted sherlock windows

If you start out sorted by Relevance, and you resort by date, you'll notice that the oldest messages are first. This is rarely what you want, so be aware of the sort-reversal button in the corner:

image of the easily-missed sort reversal button

Leaping from Sherlock to the Web

Many people don't realize that this little graphic here is actually a useful button.

The even-more easily missed webjump button

If you click on it, it'll launch your default browser, and take you to the web-based search results for the same query. This is handy when you want to elaborate on a search with options that Sherlock does not provide, such as complementary ("or") matches.

Returning more results

Sherlock will return no more than 30 responses to a given query. If you get 30 responses, chances are the server returned many more than that, and Sherlock quit paying attention after the first 30. If you want to see more than that, you can change the number of responses which Sherlock will display, by opening up the plugin file in a text editor such as BBEdit, Alpha, or Tex-Edit Plus.

Alter the value in the the line:

<input name="matchesperpage" value="30">

so that the value reflects the maximum number of matches you want to retrieve. If you set this to a very large value, you may want to increase Sherlock's memory allocation.

Questions, comments, feedback, suggestions to thanks!