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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts Desktop
I do a lot of chatting using iChat, and I save all of my iChat transcripts to disk by checking "Automatically save chat transcripts" in the Messages Preference of iChat. All of my iChat transcripts are located in ~/Documents/iChats, where ~ is your home directory. I was never really sure why I did this, but I am glad that I did and now I am more of a power user because of this. Someone recently asked me about some information that we discussed sometime ago, but I didn't remember the details. I did recall that I discussed this with her in a chat. I was able to find the specific information by searching my iChat transcripts by doing the following:

Go to the Finder, and do a search. Search in a specific place where all of your iChat transcripts are located. Remember that you have to check "Automatically save chat transcripts" as mentioned above. Search for items whose Extension is 'chat'; 'chat' is the extension of your iChat transcripts. Add Content as part of your search to include what you are searching for in the transcripts. Click Search, and you will get a list of transcripts that will contain the content of your search. Of course, you can narrow your search by adding additional queries such as Name, Date Modified, Size, etc.

Sure it's a simple technique and it might seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious isn't so clear to some people. So I think this hint will help some people utilize iChat a little more effectively.

[robg adds: If you have a ton of transcripts, and search them often, you might want to try out either Logorrhea (info, download) or ChatMaster (info, download). I've used both, and they both make it quite easy to search your transcripts.]
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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts | 8 comments | Create New Account
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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts
Authored by: BulbVivid on Jan 18, '05 12:10:55PM

Check out the little script Chat Order at MacUpdate: It puts all your transcripts in subfolders based on the chat participants. Then you can search by date within the subfolders. Pretty handy stuff.


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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts
Authored by: altano on Jan 18, '05 12:44:43PM
Adium's log viewer has come a long way and is easily the best log viewer of any IM client i've seen... although most don't even have log viewers? Anyway, you should really consider switching over. It's a superior program in almost every way (damn file transfer)

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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts
Authored by: afb on Jan 20, '05 03:27:21PM

i don't often send or receive files in aim, but the last few times i tried it in adium, it seemed to work (using the lastest version, of course).

now is the time for all good cows to come to the aid of their pasture.

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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts
Authored by: galaher on Jan 18, '05 01:52:44PM

There was also a free, quick, but crude hint on how to use the 'string' command in perl to do this, under the title of 'A simple Perl script to search iChat logs'. I've used it for some time, as it's served my needs, although it is somewhat limited.

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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts
Authored by: timkingman on Jan 18, '05 07:39:09PM
Logorrhea also puts a nice search interface on iChat transcripts.

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Be careful when using the Finder to do Content Searches.
Authored by: iRideSnow on Jan 18, '05 11:08:45PM

The Finder's Content Search will only find "whole" words. For example, if you used the word 'filename' in a chat session, and you search for 'file', it won't find the chat session where you used 'filename' (unless it also contains the word 'file', of course).

Your search word has to be recognized as a separate word in order for the Content Search to work. This means that your search word has to be delimited by some character other than a normal alphabetic (and perhaps numeric) character, such as a space or an underscore or whatever.

This applies to a Content Searches of any files, not just chat sessions, of course.

I filed a bug about this a long time ago and it looks like it will be fixed in the next release of OS X (Tiger). Hopefully, they will provide the option of searching for whole words OR substrings, since both types of searches are useful.


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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts
Authored by: aranor on Jan 19, '05 03:01:36AM

When I need to search iChat logs, I just use `grep' in the terminal. Works pretty nicely.

But nowadays, I'll just use IMSmarter.

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Use the Finder to search iChat transcripts
Authored by: jearsh on Dec 15, '09 01:01:22PM

this wasn't obvious to me. thanks for the non-third party solution. just what i was looking for.

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