Full text search (boolean and raw query)

Many complex search expressions are possible when using the "Contains in FTS" operator. These are processed by the full text search engine. When you check the boolean option or you choose the raw query search type, you have more flexibility and power than with the simpler basic query.

A "boolean" search request consists of a group of words, phrases, or macros linked by connectors such as AND and OR that indicate the relationship between them. For boolean searches, enable the Boolean search check box in the advanced search screen.

Boolean or raw query examples

What you are looking for The query that will find it
Documents that must contain "apple" and "pear" and one of "banana" or "mango". Parenthesis ensures the precedence of logic operations. Deepest nesting is evaluated first.
(apple and pear) and (banana or mango)
Documents that are likely to be invoices because the word "invoice" is on the first 20 words on the page and it contains at least one of "total", "subtotal" or "balance due". This also eliminates red herring documents where invoice is part of the name of a project document or contract.
invoice w/20 xfirstword and (total or subtotal or "balance due") and not ("solution design" w/100 xfirstword) and not (contract w/20 xfirstword)
Documents with Manhattan, New York city area phone numbers. Parenthesis, periods, hyphens and other similar characters do not affect the search as they are ignored when indexing.
"212 === ====" or "332 === ====" or "646 === ====" or "917 === ===="


Search Request Meaning
apple AND pear Both words must be present.
apple OR pear Either word can be present
apple w/5 pear Apple must occur within 5 words of pear
apple NOT w/12 pear

Apple must occur, but not within 12 words of pear

*can only be used with a File only or Metadata only full text search

apple AND NOT pear

Only apple can be present

*can only be used with a File only or Metadata only full text search

apple w/5 xfirstword Apple must occur in the first five words

Noise words such as “if” and “the” are ignored in searches. Contact FileHold Professional Services if you would like to change any of the noise words.

Search option characters

Such operators and logic including stemming, fuzzy, synonym and phonic can be used with “Contains in FTS” or ‘Does not contain in FTS” type searches. Search terms may include the following special characters to change the standard behavior of the search:

Character Meaning Examples
? (question mark) Matches any single character. appl? would match apply and apple but not apples
= (equal) Matches any single digit. N=== would match N123 but not N1234 or Nabc
* (asterisk) Matches any number of characters. Use to search for a term where the spelling is in question or there are multiple possible spellings.

Using the wildcard characters at the beginning of a word can significantly expand the number of works the full text search engine must examine. This can cause searches to slow or timeout of the size of the index is large.


appl* would match apple, application, etc. *cipl* would match principle, participle, etc. ap*ed would match applied, approved, etc.
% (percent) Fuzzy search. Fuzzy searching will find a word even if it is misspelled.  For example, a fuzzy search for apple will find appple. Fuzzy searching can be useful when you are searching text that may contain typographical errors (such as emails), or for text that has been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR). ba%nana: Word must begin with ba and have at most one difference between it and banana.
b%%anana: Word must begin with b and have at most two differences between it and banana.
# (hash) Phonic search. Phonic searching will find matches for words that sound like the word you are searching for and begins with the same letter. #smith will find Smithe and Smythe in addition to Smith.
~ (tilde) Stemming. Stemming extends a search to cover grammatical variations of words. Stemming does not slow searches noticeably and is almost always helpful in making sure you find what you want. Contact FileHold Professional Services if you would like to change the stemming rules for non-English languages. apply~ also finds applying, applies, and applied. A search for fish would also find fishing.
& (ampersand)  Synonym search. Synonym searching includes synonyms of the word included in a search request. A search for fast& would also find results with the word quickly.

The default behavior for stemming, fuzzy, synonym and phonic searches are controlled by configuration as they can have a significant impact on search performance and or search behavior.

Words and phrases

To search for a phrase, use quotation marks around it, like this: "fruit salad"

If a phrase contains a noise word, the search engine will skip over the noise word when searching for it. For example, a search for statue of liberty would retrieve any document containing the word statue, any intervening word, and the word liberty.

Punctuation inside of a search word is treated as a space. For example:

  • can't would be treated as a phrase consisting of two words: can and t.
  • 1843(c)(8)(ii) would become 1843 c 8 ii (four words).

AND connector

Use the AND connector in a search request to connect two expressions, both of which must be found in any document retrieved. For example, apple pie and poached pear would retrieve any document that contains both phrases.

A search for banana and pear w/5 grape would retrieve any document that (1) contains banana, AND (2) contains pear within 5 words of grape.

OR connector

Use the OR connector in a search request to connect two expressions, at least one of which must be found in any document retrieved. For example, apple pie or poached pear would retrieve any document that contained apple pie, poached pear, or both.

W/N connector (Proximity search)

Use the W/N connector in a search request to specify that one word or phrase must occur within N words of the other. For example, apple w/5 pear would retrieve any document that contained apple within 5 words of pear.

The following are examples of search requests using W/N:

  • apple or pear w/5 banana
  • apple w/5 banana w/10 pear
  • apple and banana w/10 pear

The xfirstword term is useful if you want to limit a search to the beginning of a file. For

example, apple w/10 xfirstword would search for apple within 10 words of the beginning of a document.

NOT and NOT w/number (Proximity search)

NOT allows you to exclude documents from a search. For example: apple sauce AND NOT pear would return all documents with term apple sauce but exclude any that had pear.

NOT standing alone can be the start of a search request. For example, NOT pear would retrieve all documents that did not contain pear.

If NOT is not the first connector in a request, you need to use either AND or OR with NOT such as apple OR NOT pear or NOT apple w/5 pear.

The NOT W/ ("not within") operator allows you to search for a word or phrase not in association with another word or phrase. For example: apple NOT w/20 pear.

Unlike the W/ operator, NOT W/ is not symmetrical. That is, apple NOT w/20 pear is not the same as pear NOT w/20 apple. In the apple NOT w/20 pear request, it searches for apple and excludes cases where apple is too close to pear. In the pear NOT w/20 apple request, it searches for pear and excludes cases where pear is too close to apple.

NOT type searches can only be used with a File only or Metadata only full text searches. NOT should not be used with File and metadata searches since the document contents index and the metadata full text index are in two separate indexes. For example, if you searched on AND NOT apple, and the word apple is in the document so it should be  excluded but the metadata does not have the word apple so it is included which means the document will be in the list. 

File properties search

When you are searching for file and metadata with contains you can specify searches for specific fields in the file properties. All files have properties, therefore this type of search can be used to search for any documents, with the exception of offline documents, in FileHold. You can see the file properties that have been indexed by the full text search engine when you highlight results. There will be a short or long block of yellow fields listed at the end of the file.

To search for file properties, enter the file property name followed by two colons and then the value. For example to find JPEG format images taken on a Canon camera you could enter the following search:

imageformat::jpeg cameramodel::canon

Punctuation from field names is removed when indexing, with these exceptions: :&_+=. Spaces are also removed. The hyphen is mapped to an underscore.