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Full-Text Search Tips

You can create more targeted searches that return only those topics you are interested in by understanding how Help interprets the formatting you use in Help queries. These formats include special characters, reserved words, and filters.

The following table includes some basic rules and guidelines for developing search queries in Help.

Case sensitivity

Searches are not case-sensitive. Develop your search criteria using uppercase or lowercase characters. For example, "OLE" and "ole" return the same results.

Character combinations

You can search for individual letters (a–z), numbers (0–9), or any combination thereof. You cannot search certain reserved words, such as and, for, from, and with. For more information, see the section "Words Ignored in Searches (Stop Words)" in this topic. If these values are included in a search query, they are ignored.

Evaluation order

Search queries are evaluated from left to right.

Punctuation

The period (.), colon (:), semicolon (;), comma (,), and hyphen (-) are ignored in searches. You cannot search for quotation marks.

In previous versions, multiple word search strings, such as "word1 word2," were equivalent to typing "word1 AND word2", which returned only topics that contained all of the individual words in the search text. For this release, the search engine interprets multiple word searches as equivalent to "word1 OR word2", which returns topics that include any of the words in the search text. You can change the default search behavior to use the AND interpretation by unselecting the option Include partial matches in local search results on General, Help, Options Dialog Box.

NoteNote:

Wildcard characters, such as * or ?, are no longer supported in Help searches.

  • Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase. For example, enter "class definition" to search for topics that include the literal phrase "class definition". Without quotation marks, the search is equivalent to specifying "class OR definition", which returns topics that contain either of the individual words.

  • Use logical operators to specify the relationship between words in your search phrase. You can include logical operators, such as AND, OR, NOT, THRU, and NEAR, to further refine your search. For example, if you search for "declaring NEAR union", search results will display topics that contain the words "declaring" and "union" no more than eight words apart from each other. For more information, see Logical Operators in Search Expressions.

    NoteNote:

    Logical operators must be typed in all capital letters for search to recognize them.

You can further restrict the information returned by a search using filters. Help includes three different categories that you can filter by in a full-text search: Language, Technology, and Content Type. Using one or all of these categories further refines your search results. For more information, see How to: Filter Help Content.

The search algorithm applies certain criteria to help rank search results higher or lower in the results list. In general:

  • Content that includes search words in the title are ranked above those that do not.

  • Content that includes the search words in close proximity to each other are ranked above those that do not.

  • Content that contains a higher density of the search words are ranked above those that have a lower density of the search words.

Commonly occurring words or numbers, sometimes called stop words, are automatically ignored during a full-text search. For example, if you search for the phrase "pass through", search results will display topics that contain the word "pass" but not "through".

Microsoft Document Explorer ignores the following words:

a-f

g-o

p-z

a

had

saw

about

has

see

after

have

seen

against

he

several

all

her

she

along

here

since

also

his

so

although

how

some

am

however

such

among

I

than

an

if

that

and

in

the

are

include

their

as

including

them

at

information

then

be

into

there

became

is

these

because

it

they

been

its

this

being

late

those

between

later

through

but

made

tip

by

many

to

can

may

too

caution

me

under

come

med

until

could

might

up

details

more

us

did

most

use

do

near

very

does

no

warning

doing

non

was

done

none

we

during

nor

were

each

not

when

early

note

where

far

of

which

finally

off

while

for

on

who

found

only

with

from

or

you

 

other

 

 

over

 

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