Tips for effective searches in the Lounge

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Tips for effective searches in the Lounge

Post by Rudi »

Search Examples in the Quick Search Box
  • dog cat bird = All search results contain posts with ALL three words. (Searches are by default inclusive (using AND condition))
  • +dog +cat +bird = Same as above
  • +dog cat -bird = Search results contain posts with both dog and cat, but not bird. (Using a + or no identifier is the same, using - is exclusive for that word)
  • +dog -cat = Search results always contain the word dog but never contain the word cat
  • (dog|cat|bird) = Search results contain posts with either of the three words (similar to an OR condition)
  • (dog|cat) +bird = Search results contain posts with either dog or cat but always bird
  • -(dog|cat) +bird = Search results contain posts with bird, but never with dog or cat
  • "Best of luck"= Search results contain the exact phrase specified. Quotes search the entire phrase, not the individual words in the phrase.

Quick Search (Screenshot from Prosilver skin)
Image 13.png
    A quick search can be performed using the search box on the top of the page. If you only type words in there (without identifiers), separated by spaces, results containing all words will be displayed. So for example, if you type: dog cat bird (which is the same as +dog +cat +bird), the resulting search will present a list of results containing all three words. The search is always inclusive (AND operator) of the terms supplied. In order to get an OR result (where the results can contain either one or two or all the words), you will need to use identifiers; eg: (dog|cat|bird). Please note that the results might not show all the highlighted key words as longer posts are truncated for the search results. For example, see this image that displays results for a search on criteria: +photo +sort
Note: The middle result only shows a match for "sort", but if you open the actual post, further down the long post you will find entries for "photo".
Search results.png
If you use identifiers (as described below), results will be controlled by their use. Clicking the Advanced Search link will take you to a new page that contains many more conditions that can be used to control and limit the results. The rest of the information below describes the use of this advanced search.
Advanced Search Query
In order to perform a search of the board, you must specify what it is that you would like to search for. You can specify keywords to search for as well as a post author.
Two query options are provided for performing the search:
  • SEARCH FOR ALL TERMS OR USE QUERY AS ENTERED - If multiple keywords are provided, all keywords must be found in the result. Alternatively, you can provide a query using special identifiers.
  • SEARCH FOR ANY TERMS - If multiple keywords are provided, then results containing any of the provided keywords will be returned.
In addition to supplying keywords, special identifiers can be used to add or detract from the importance of certain words.
You can control the search results by using combinations of search identifiers connected to the words you are search for.


When placed before a keyword, that keyword must be found in the result text.

When placed before a keyword, that keyword must not be present in the result text.


Returns results which contain the word "dog", but not "cat".

This token can be used to separate a list of keywords, of which at least one of the keywords should be found in the text. Words may be placed inside of parentheses and combined with a + or - to indicated that at least one of the words must or must not appear in each result.


Returns results which contain either the word "dog" or the word "cat".

Returns results which contain neither the word "dog" nor the word "cat".

Returns results which contain the word "bird" but not the words "dog" nor the word "cat" .

An asterisk in a keyword allows for partial keyword matches.


Returns results which begin with the word "cat", such as "cats" and "catastrophe".

Returns results which end with the word "test", such as "detest" and "protest".

" "
Quotation marks allows for searching the entire phrase, not individual words.


"Best of luck"
Returns results which contain the entire phrase 'Best of luck' and not individual words such as 'Best' or 'of' or 'luck'.

The search query can be further refined by providing the author of the post. If an author is specified, then only posts made by that author which meets the query requirements will be returned. The author field allows for the use of wildcards (*) to perform partial matches on the author name.

The search options
Searches can be further restricted to specific forums or specific parts of the topics.
  • SEARCH IN FORUMS - Here you can select specific forums in which the search should be performed. Multiple forums can be selected by holding down the "control" or "command" key.
  • SEARCH IN SUBFORUMS - If this option is selected, then any subforums of the selected forums will be searched as well.
  • SEARCH WITHIN - This allows you to specify which part of the posts should be searched.
  • POST SUBJECTS AND MESSAGE TEXT - Both the post subject and the post body will be searched.
  • MESSAGE TEXT ONLY - Only the body of the posts will be searched and not its title.
  • TOPIC TITLES ONLY - Only the topic titles will be searched.
  • FIRST POST OF TOPICS ONLY - The first post of each topic will be searched and no other posts in the topic.
  • DISPLAY RESULTS AS - This option formats the search results to only show either the post contents or just topic titles.
  • SORT RESULTS BY - Orders the results based on either AUTHOR, POST TIME, FORUM, TOPIC TITLE or POST SUBJECT. The results can be displayed in ASCENDING or DESCENDING order.
  • LIMIT RESULTS TO PREVIOUS - Limits the results to posts made in specific time frame.
  • RETURN FIRST - Formats the results to only contain a specific number of characters of the matching posts.
Credit to BobH for asking about this.
Details are taken from user guides at phpBB.
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