Usher

Media shoebox

Release Notes

What's new in Usher?

Usher 2.1 - Jul 22 2021

New Features

  • You can now combine multiple, tiered sorting criteria by shift-selecting criterion menu items.
  • Made it easier to clear your thumbnail selection, via "Clear Selection" menu item and, in case of multiple selection, a dedicated toolbar button.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Improved metadata support.
  • Improved thumbnail loading.
  • Improved cropping/preview selection user interface.
  • Fixed a bug that made Usher crash when trying to export metadata CSV.

Usher 2.0 - May 18 2021

New Features

  • You can now check/uncheck tags and property values for a single file or multiple files directly from within the context menu.
  • Usher now reflects (some of) a file's Apple/iTunes-formatted embedded metadata, as well as Finder tags and comments.
  • You can now long- or right-click the metadata editor's "+" button to add properties that may be available for embedded metadata importing.
  • When editing metadata, you can now reference other properties' values via the "+" pop-up menu's "Import" submenu. The resulting placeholders can be double-clicked and edited manually to take advantage of the syntax's more elaborate features (e.g., <?meta:A+B|C|"Nope"?> — see Help for a detailed explanation).
  • When editing metadata, you can now reference a given file's name with an optional regular expression, which returns a joined string containing all capture groups, if any, or the entire match. For example, <?meta:Name:^test (.*)?> would import any characters following a "test " prefix.
  • Timestamps (e.g., 0:07) mentioned in a given movie's notes, tags, or other properties are now reflected alongside any chapters.
  • The current playback timestamp for the currently playing file can now be inserted via Edit menu when appropriate.
  • Batch renaming now supports metadata references. Just like with the metadata editor, more elaborate options, such as "|"-separated alternates, are available by double-clicking and editing the blue pills.
  • When batch-renaming via the Metadata/Names dialog, clicking the list of files now scrolls to files that will actually have their names changed. Click repeatedly to cycle through all such files.
  • Smart playlists that are subdivided by defined properties (or tag/property value subdivision's new default, "all") now automatically add a second subdivision step for each property's respective values.
  • Smart playlists can now be subdivided by property values along the lines of "Cast + Director" (either as the only specified value, or in addition to others), resulting in a subdivision hierarchy that's similar to subdividing by defined properties, but restricted to the "+"-separated properties. Yeah, subdivision is a geeky feature.
  • Smart playlists with active relative-date-based criteria (e.g., "date added is within the last 3 days") now display +/- toolbar buttons that let you quickly change between days, weeks, months, and years for the date criteria, thereby giving you a convenient way to look a little further into the past, then switch back.
  • Smart playlists can now override the general "Continue with next file" preference.
  • Smart playlists can now be duplicated via File menu or context menu.
  • Hovering the mouse pointer over the thumbnail for a compatible movie file now triggers a frame image slideshow after a delay (General preferences), giving you an idea of what's in the movie. From there, you can move your mouse left or right over the thumbnail to scrub through frames manually. Or you can right-click and use the "Current Frame" context menu submenu for further interaction, such as using the frame as the file's preview or playing the movie from the frame's timestamp.
  • Added new preview layout options, such as Waterfall and Mosaic, which work especially well for image files.
  • You can now shift-drag the thumbnail size slider to change the amount of spacing between thumbnails.
  • Added a third "Click thumbnail once to…" behavior option, where clicking a thumbnail toggles its selection status, similarly to how multiple selection works on iOS (General preferences).
  • You can now use Quick Look within Usher via context menu or by pressing the space bar after selecting a file. Note that Quick Look will always show what's on disk and thus ignore any edits you may have applied in Usher.
  • Added a back button to assist with navigating your folders and playlists. Long- or right-click the back button for a history menu.
  • Movie and image files can now be mirrored.
  • Usher can now play movies in reverse and/or at double speed. Option-click the fast forward/backward buttons or choose the corresponding menu items to switch between those playback modes.
  • Switched from QuickTime to AVFoundation (a.k.a. "QuickTime" X) for movie playback, because the real QuickTime, which Usher 1 was built upon, does not work on macOS 10.15 Catalina and later. As a direct consequence of this, Usher supports fewer file formats now, because it can't use plugins like Perian and Flip4Mac anymore. Read on for ways to ease the file format pain.
  • Added external viewer monitoring to balance for the reduction in natively supported formats: After opening a file in VLC or QuickTime Player, Usher can now monitor those apps and continue with the next file in a given Usher playlist once playback of the first file has concluded. This is disabled by default, but you can enable it in Usher's General preferences.
  • If Usher cannot open a file, it now falls back to opening it in the file's assigned default app — i.e., the same app you'd end up with if you double-clicked the file in Finder. For each app, Usher requests your confirmation at least once, so you have a chance to correct weird default apps in Finder as you go.
  • You can now specify JSON default viewer rules in Usher's Advanced preferences. Match URLs via regular expression or an "Extensions" value that consists of whitespace-separated filename extensions. Alternatively, you can still assign apps to individual files via context menu or Info dialog.
  • The playback controls now include a Chapters button that's visible whenever Usher detects chapters in the currently playing file. Chapters are also accessible from the Controls menu, if available.
  • There are now three positioning options for the playback controls: floating, above content, and below content. (This build resets your preference to floating both for full-screen playback and playback in a window. If you had your playback controls below the content before, you'll have to choose that option once more.)
  • You can now click inside the playback area to play/pause, go to the previous file, or go to the next file, depending on mouse location.
  • You can now access the entire context menu, rather than just aspect ratio choices, via the button in the playback window's top right corner. Then if you do unlock the file's aspect ratio, Usher makes related menu items more readily available as long as the aspect ratio remains unlocked.
  • You can now hide and show the playback window's location bar. (It's hidden by default.)
  • By default, full screen mode now uses a separate Space, making it more similar to modern macOS's standard full screen mode.
  • In addition to single-value matches, the Similar context submenu now lists files that match all values for a given tag/property. And if an item has multiple tags/properties, Similar lists other items that match all values for all of those tags/properties below the tag/property-specific submenus.
  • Choosing the parent menu item of a tag/property-specific submenu in Similar, or choosing Similar itself, now triggers a filter search that will reveal all similar files at that level, including the reference file.
  • The "Open With" submenu can now be filtered by holding the control key.
  • You can now drag cover and preview images out of the Info dialog to export them.
  • For Usher's Dock icon, you can now choose between the classic icon and two Big-Sur-style rounded rectangle icon variants in Usher's Appearance preferences. (If this doesn't work as expected for you right away, try removing Usher from your Dock, then adding it again.)
  • When generating poster images for newly added files, Usher now tries to distinguish between (QuickLook-based) covers and actual previews.
  • Clicking an individual frame in the Index Image window now gives you ways to interact with that frame, such as using the frame as the file's preview or playing the movie from the frame's timestamp.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Improved thumbnail scrolling performance and overall responsiveness.
  • Improved thumbnail keyboard navigation.
  • Improved multiple selection support.
  • Fixed a bug where incorrect preview images were generated for some files, such as certain kinds of PDF.
  • Fixed a thumbnail layout bug that resulted in nonsensical thumbnail aspect ratios when scaling up automatically was enabled.
  • Dragging the thumbnail size slider will now always give you exact width matches. Hold the option key while dragging for more direct control over thumbnail sizes.
  • Enabled "Automatically Scale Up" by default. You can still disable this via the View menu, though, and you can still do so for Cover and Preview mode separately.
  • Tool tips for thumbnails are now displayed outside of the thumbnail, solving a problem where thumbnails could get occluded by lengthy tool tips.
  • Tags and properties now use the CSV format for their values. (Related backwards compatibility ramifications are the main reason why Usher 2 creates a new library index file inside the Usher.library bundle.)
  • Added a filter button to the metadata editor that lets you hide properties you aren't currently using.
  • Removed any remaining reference to the Auto-Properties feature, which hasn't worked in quite some time anyway.
  • A smart playlist that has no active criteria now matches all files, rather than none. No more "name is not an empty string" dummy criteria.
  • A duration of zero is now a valid smart playlist criterion.
  • Subdivision by first letter now takes ignored prefixes, as defined in the Advanced preferences, into account.
  • Fixed a subdivision bug that could result in duplicates when applying a minority threshold.
  • Fixed a bug where smart playlist subdivisions could show duplicate files under rare conditions.
  • Smart playlist subdivision rules (e.g., regarding the treatment of "Other" files) are now applied more consistently.
  • Improved smart playlist editor layout.
  • Subfolders/child playlists can now be created via context menu.
  • Improved the batch renaming user interface.
  • Fixed a crash that occurred when opening a file in the main window, rather than a separate viewer window.
  • Fixed a bug where playback sometimes started over after ending.
  • Fixed a bug in the aspect ratio logic for image files.
  • Mouse activity now only fades in hovering playback controls if the playback window has keyboard focus.
  • Playing a movie that's stopped at its end now plays it from the start again.
  • The playback view now returns to the last user-set width when possible. Typical use case: a portrait-oriented file forcing a smaller width, which, up until now, would have altered the preferred window width permanently.
  • Improved the area selection mechanism used for cropping and assigning selection-based previews. Once you've initially dragged to select an area, you can drag edges and corners to fine-tune, then click within the selected area to confirm. Click anywhere outside to dismiss.
  • Improved consistency between the View menu and the context menu.
  • Added a "Show in Finder" item to the File menu.
  • The search bar now has a Groups/Files section that controls if search results are groups, files, or both.
  • Improved search result sorting.
  • Improved responsiveness when adding larger numbers of files at once.
  • Usher is now less of a RAM hog while analyzing newly added files.
  • Changed the rating key combos to option-command-number, because the old shift-command-number combos clashed with macOS's standard screenshot key combos.
  • Usher is now better at guessing the names of Photos.app files.
  • Fixed external media support for sources such as Photos and the apps formerly known as iTunes.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented the main window from toggling full screen mode under certain circumstances.
  • Improved list layout and formatting. Numeric properties are now displayed right-aligned to match the Index and Counter columns.
  • Improved number formatting.
  • Improved drag & drop reliability.
  • Improved the index image editor's efficiency and responsiveness.
  • Improved support for the "Increase contrast" setting in System Preferences.
  • Usher is now a universal app that runs natively both on Apple silicon and Intel processors, and it comes with an overhauled user interface that supports dark mode and generally feels more at home on modern macOS versions.

Usher 1.1.17 - Oct 3 2018

New Features

  • Can now search for "or more" star ratings, e.g. "***+" for three or more stars.
  • Save Poster Image can save images to the desktop by holding down the Control key while selecting the menu item.
  • If you have multiple subdivisions of a Smart Playlist, and select more than one subdivision, the search bar will show two new buttons: Union (all of the movies in all selected subdivisions) and Intersection (only those movies that appear in each selected subdivision).

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Improved CSV output now includes date/time fields and UUID.
  • Fixed a preview-related crash when previewing many movies. (Hat tip to Dominik R. for finding this one.)

Usher 1.1.16 - Mar 14 2017

New Features

  • Added an option to have thumbnails automatically adjust in size (i.e., scale up), depending on how much room there is. You can control this separately for preview mode and cover mode.
  • Added metadata CSV export — see Usher Help for details.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed thumbnail preview playback.
  • Improved compatibility with the Photos database.

Usher 1.1.15 - Dec 22 2016

New Features

  • Metadata searches now include names of external movie players, as defined in the Info dialog.
  • Search terms can now be excluded by prefixing them with a minus sign, i.e. Bert -Ernie would exclude Ernie.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Compatible with Photos 2.0 in macOS Sierra.
  • Improved memory usage and speed of the movie crawler.
  • New in-app icons and other visual improvements.

Note

We've changed how Usher calculates some date values. This behind-the-scenes change means that if you downgrade to 1.1.14 in the future, you'll lose some date-related metadata. As always, you should back up your files before updating Usher (or any app).

Usher 1.1.14 - May 3 2016

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Updated help manager with improved search and navigation, plus more info on using Usher.
  • Drag and drop now works properly when trying to organize video files from search results.
  • Fixed some bugs related to working with the Photos database.
  • Fixed a bug related to closing the Properties window with an active edit field.
  • Growl support has been removed.

Usher 1.1.13 - Jan 31 2016

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • General interface improvements for OS X 10.10 and newer.
  • Improved support for Photos.
  • Updated the Sparkle in-app update mechanism to use a secure connection (HTTPS).
  • Fixed "Next Movie" keyboard shortcut issue.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause Usher to scroll back to the top of the window after playing a video.

Note

Help is out of date with this release; we'll update it to match the changes in this update shortly.

Usher 1.1.12 - Oct 1 2015

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed a problem that prevented Usher from properly working for users who keep its main library file on an external volume.

Usher 1.1.11 - Sep 28 2015

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed an issue with OS X 10.11 El Capitan's Gatekeeper.

Usher 1.1.10 - Jan 13 2015

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed a search field drawing glitch in Yosemite.

Usher 1.1.9 - Aug 6 2014

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Prepared for upcoming Gatekeeper changes.

Usher 1.1.8 - Jan 23 2014

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed an issue with excessive CPU consumption in expired trial mode.
  • No longer treat AVHCHD bundles as bundles by default.
  • YouTube and Vimeo URLs cannot be put into the Download URLs box (they didn't work anyway).

Usher 1.1.7 - Dec 2 2013

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • For now, at least, Usher is available only directly from us—the App Store version is no longer for sale. Here's why.
  • YouTube and Vimeo downloading have been removed. Here's why.
  • In Mavericks, clicking at a position on the playhead now jumps to that position, as it did pre-Mavericks.
  • Changed the "Show File" menu item to "Reveal in Finder," to make its purpose more clear.
  • Animated GIFs now work as expected. (Hat tip to Arndt L. for finding this one.)
  • Fixed a problem that occurred when rotating full-screen videos. (Hat tip to Jan for finding this one.)
  • We now prevent iTunes podcasts from automatically downloading into Usher.
  • Fixed a fuzzy date description issue.
  • Fixed a broken Growl framework reference.

Usher 1.1.6 - Sep 17 2012

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Restores YouTube download capability. (Hat tip to Tim L. for reporting this one.)
  • Resolved issues related to working with videos in external libraries (iPhoto, iTunes, Aperture). (Hat tip to Mike L. for reporting this one.)
  • The "Remove from Library" menu item now reads "Add to Blacklist" when looking at external libraries, to more accurately reflect its functionality.

Usher 1.1.5 - Jul 25 2012

New Features

  • Auto-detect .dvdmedia files added to Usher's library folders.
  • Automatically play .dvdmedia files in DVD Player.
  • Hover controls are now only shown when the mouse moves on the screen containing the video.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed some display glitches in Mountain Lion.
  • Hover controls no longer show when Usher is in full-screen playback in the background.
  • Fixed a rare bug that would cause the Movies folder not to show in certain situations. (Hat tip to Jan for finding this one.)
  • Movie trailers on Apple's new movie trailers site are once again downloadable. (These trailers are downloadable on the web site, but the new page design broke Usher's download abilities.)

Note

This update is for direct customers only; the latest Mac App Store version is still 1.1.3. Here's why.

Usher 1.1.4 - Nov 23 2011

New Features

  • Added a new Batch Rename entry to the Usher menu, for use when renaming multiple videos.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Converting videos that reside on read-only media now works properly. (Hat tip to Kevin H. for reporting this one.)
  • Batch processing now works properly in Lion when Usher is in the background. (Hat tip to Kevin H. for reporting this one.)
  • Usher can now delete videos that reside on networked volumes.
  • Fixed higher-resolution YouTube downloads. (Hat tip to Garrison B. for reporting this one.)
  • Fixed media key support.
  • Fixed an issue where subdividing Smart Playlists could cause Usher to crash under certain conditions.

Note

This update is for direct customers only; the latest Mac App Store version is still 1.1.3. Here's why.

Usher 1.1.3 - Apr 19 2011

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed a problem that would cause false 'no nested library folders allowed' error messages. (Hat tip to Thomas for reporting this one.)
  • Usher no longer allows users to Move/Merge movies that aren't directly in its own library (i.e. iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture movies).
  • Usher now behaves properly if it's launched with its main library on an external unmounted drive.

Usher 1.1.2 - Jan 20 2011

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Entries in the Notes field are no longer lost when doing certain operations on multiple movies.
  • Changes in the Tags field are now recorded as soon as each change is made, instead of when exiting the Tags field.

Usher 1.1.1 - Jan 11 2011

New Features

  • Usher can manage Elgato recordings—playback will be handled by Elgato's EyeTV player, as QuickTime can't handle these recordings.
  • You can now save a selected group of movies in native format (no conversion) to a location you specify; see the Save To contextual menu item. (Hat tip to Webb P. for the suggestion.)

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Further reductions in memory usage during various Usher operations.
  • Fixed a keyboard shortcut conflict between Set Selection End and No Rating on certain (including US) keyboard layouts.

Usher 1.1 - Dec 30 2010

New Features

  • A new free-form Notes field allows entry of ridiculous amounts of text; it will auto-size and add scroll bars as needed, so Notes can be as lengthy as you like.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Reduced memory usage during movie 'crawling' (when Usher is scanning newly-imported movies).
  • Renamed Tags and Properties to Metadata throughout the app, to reflect the change in status of the Notes field to a third "information type."
  • Made changes to improve slow response of the Library and Help menus.
  • Fixed a problem related to auto-imports and restricted file types. (Hat tip to Kristian for reporting this one.)
  • Fixed an issue where the movie size menu was grayed out if a movie was playing with the main window closed. (Hat tip to Daniel B. for reporting this one.)
  • iTunes movies that have a custom preview image now have a small lock icon, instead of the large overlaying lock icon.
  • Added a hidden preference to disable the fade-to-black animation when entering full screen mode. In Terminal (Usher not running), paste this command: defaults write com.manytricks.Usher "Disable Presentation Fading" -bool YES — note that you may see some visual oddities during the transition to full screen mode if the fade is disabled. (Hat tip to John T. for the suggestion.)
  • Fixed a small naming error in the license panel. (Hat tip to Eric P. for reporting this one.)

Usher 1.0.4 - Nov 2 2010

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Usher's movie processor no longer pauses when the Info window is displayed.
  • Users with serial numbers (instead of license files) will no longer have upgrade-related licensing issues.
  • Downloading YouTube videos with embedded advertisements now works as expected. (Hat tip to Jonathan C. for reporting this one.)
  • Item counts won't overlap a source item's name any more; this could happen on rare occasions.

Usher 1.0.3 - Oct 26 2010

New Features

  • Added a new "Mark as watched/unwatched" entry to the contextual menu, to easily mark groups of movies as watched or unwatched. (Hat tip to 'glebd' for the suggestion.)
  • Added File > Add to Library menu item to allow users to add folders or movie(s) directly to the library. By default, the File > Open menu item stores things in temporary (not permanent) storage, and this was confusing some users. (Hat tip to Keene H. for the suggestion.)
  • Added Date Created as a new column in List View. (Hat tip to Brett K. for the suggestion.)
  • Added Date Added to the Info panel.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Better logging tools are available for us to use when debugging users' problem reports.
  • Fixed incorrect links in Help Files' sidebar entries. (Hat tip to Edgard K. for spotting this one.)
  • Fixed a problem related to Usher and caching certain Aperture libraries. (Hat tip to 'glebd' for finding this one.)
  • Fixed a UI glitch related to the license window and demo users. (Hat tip to Don P. for reporting this one.)

Usher 1.0.2 - Oct 21 2010

New Features

  • Usher now works with videos saved in Aperture, much like it does for videos in iTunes and iPhoto. (The only limitation is that we're unable to import Aperture's keywords, as we can do for iPhoto videos.)
  • Many Usher file dialogs now have New Folder buttons, at least where it makes sense (e.g. when moving your library). (Hat tip to Kirk M. for asking for this feature.)
  • Added new section to in-app help to cover supplementary folders, an Usher feature that allows you to spread your collection across many volumes, yet treat it as one large virtual folder.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Referenced (i.e. aliased) movies in iPhoto now work as expected. This fix also improves alias handling in general. (Hat tip to Keen H. for reporting this one.)
  • The selected highlight used for selected movies now wraps around the entire preview image, making it much easier to see.
  • Improved the algorithm used to locate the iTunes library file.
  • When pausing playback of a still-downloading movie, the progress indicator no longer stops. (Hat tip to Kirk M. for reporting this one.)
  • Fixed a bug that would cause Auto-Properties to fail when it encountered apostrophes. (Hat tip to 'burgerga' for reporting this one.)

Usher 1.0.1 - Oct 17 2010

New Features

  • Usher will now recognize .dvdmedia files (and other video distributed as Mac OS X package files). You'll need to manually set the Open With value for such movies (using the contextual menu).

Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Usher couldn't find the iTunes library for certain users in certain situations; this has been resolved.
  • The Usher browser integration bookmarklet will open in the default browser, even for users who have set .html files to open in a text editor.
  • Importing non-native QuickTime movies, such as those in the mkv format, should now be faster and more reliable.

Usher 1.0 - Oct 14 2010

Takeoff

Usher 1.0 is essentially a brand-new program (though based on its predecessor, yFlicks). It contains a slew of new and/or greatly improved features; here are some of the more interesting newly-added features:

  • New Tags and Properties editor makes it super easy to add metadata to your video and movie collection.
  • Integrated iPhoto movies access, similar to existing iTunes movie support.
  • Integrated YouTube/Vimeo search and download tool.
  • Dedicated iTunes U sub-category in Library/iTunes.
  • Play movies in a separate window (enabled by default).
  • When hovering playback controls over the movie, the separate player windows hides its window controls whenever those are not needed.
  • Basic editing (copy, cut, paste, revert to original, save later) for videos.
  • Non-smart playlists, as in iTunes.
  • Rearrange previews/covers via drag-and-drop.
  • Rearrange Smart Playlist contents (if sorted by index).
  • Context-aware "Last Watched" sub-menu in File menu.
  • Contextual menu "Other contexts" browser.
  • Contextual menu "Similar movies" browser.
  • Drag-and-tag: Drag movies to a sub-divided Smart Playlist's sub-groups (those with the grayscale folder icons) to set Tags and Properties according to the sub-group's properties. (This works for Property value sub-division only, and should be considered experimental.)
  • Whitelist and blacklist allow fine-grained control over what Usher sees and does not see.
  • Automatic app updates via Sparkle.

Usher 2.1 requires macOS 10.11 El Capitan or newer. You can try it for free. The release notes are an interesting read. If you feel like talking to fellow users, there's a dedicated discussion group. If you bought an Usher 1 license from this site, you can upgrade to Usher 2 for a mere $10. And for the nostalgically inclined, you can still download older versions of Usher.