Search commands

If you want your search results to be more precise, then you can modify your query with tagged terms, wildcards and Boolean operators.

In this help topic, search examples are shown as search text.

Search terms §

  • A search term can include both alphanumeric and non-alphanumeric symbol characters.
  • Except as noted below (like Boolean operators and filter categories), searches do not distinguish between upper- and lower-case letters. Your terms are converted to maximize the search results, regardless of capitalization: gear and GEAR will return the same results.
  • Multiple search terms are separated by a space: specifying film resistor searches all items with the terms film or resistor or both.
  • If you want to search for a particular sequence of words, enclose it in quotes. For example, "plated machine screw" only returns items with that exact sequence of terms in a single data field.
  • Spaces and punctuation within quotes are ignored: "screw, pan head" will return the same results as "screw pan head".
  • An embedded symbol character is equivalent to a space character, and the search term is converted to a quoted phrase. For example, 123-456 is equivalent to "123 456". Exceptions are made for:
    • Abbreviation: A series of single alphanumeric characters followed by . (this is simply removed). For example, I.S.O. is equivalent to iso.
    • Date: When the search term is in the form YYYY-M-D (or local short date) then the search is limited to date fields: 2012-10-30. A quoted date, however, is a string like any other, and "2012-10-30" is searched as "2012 10 30" within text (not date) fields.
  • A blank search (that is, there are no search terms specified) doesn't return any results.

An empty list shows that there are no matching records, or that the search term is so general that the search engine cannot select useful results. In both cases, refine your search by adding new or different terms.

Operators §

  • You can specify a single-character wildcard with the ? operator. For example, t?re would return items with words like tire and tyre but not there.

  • You can specify a multi-character wildcard with the * operator. For example, document* would return items with words like document and documentation.

  • To search for terms nearby, enclose the terms in quotes and specify the maximum distance using the ~ operator. The criteria "10pF ceramic"~3 will return all items with up to 3 other tokens between 10uF and ceramic.

  • To ensure a term is included in your results, use the + operator. The criteria flat +washer will return items with washer and may or may not include flat.

  • To reduce the number of items returned, you can put a - operator immediately in front of a term that you want to exclude: hardware -rivet returns all hardware items that don't include the term rivet. You can also use uppercase NOT: hardware NOT rivet

    It's not necessary to include a space following the - operator, as hardware - rivet and hardware -rivet show similar results. However, you must use a space to separate the NOT operator from a search term: hardware NOT rivet

    The - operator is most effective when used with tokens that, by themselves, create a ranked set. Using only a negative token – for example -change – assigns the same rank to all "not a change" items. In a database with many items, the search will show nothing unless the negative token by itself defines a small result set.

  • You can enter logical expressions using AND (or &&) and OR (or ||) between terms. The && operator will return items when all terms are present, while the || operator will return items that have one or more of the terms.

    Use a space to separate AND and OR operators from search terms: flat AND washer or flat && washer and not flatANDwasher

    By default, the OR (or ||) operator is applied between all terms of your search, and need not be explicitly used except when including other operators (see next example).

  • Logical expressions contained within parentheses are evaluated before those outside. The expression wire && (copper || steel) will return items with either copper wire or steel wire or both; (wire && copper) || steel will return copper wire or anything steel or both.

  • Use the [  TO  ] operator to search for a range of up to 100 item numbers. The criteria [10011 TO 10034] will show up to 24 items, including the two end terms.

    To ensure you get items with these numbers, and not unrelated items that simply include the numbers (like in change descriptions), use the filter category like: number:[10011 TO 10034]

System tags §

System-level tags are automatically added as items are indexed. Tags follow the same search and operator rules as other item text, such as part washer and file && *.pdf.

Tag Added to
home Items where the home organization is the owner
partner Items where a partner organization is the owner
document Document records
part Part records
change Change forms
pending Pending documents and parts
released Released documents and parts
canceled Canceled documents and parts
Change forms at the specified lifecycle state.
file File attachments and external links

Tags are less accurate than filters because the item may include conflicting tags. For example, a home document record always includes the home tag, but its title may contain the word partner.

Filter categories §

The system adds categories to an item. You can search a category by using category:parameter.

You can use any combination of full or short categories and full or short parameters. Category text is always lowercase; a parameter is any combination of uppercase and lowercase text.

Search for... Category Parameter Example
Class class:
change, chg
document, doc
part, prt
Owner1 owner:
Organizations Name or Display name owner:3M
Type1 type:
Document Types, Part Types,
Change Forms
Name or Abbreviation
Number1 number:
Item Number or isempty2 number:12345
Description1 description
Document Title, part Name, change Description, or isempty2 description:Bolt
Release state state:
Document or part release state:
 pending, pnd
 released, rel
 canceled, can
Change workflow state:
 originated, org
 submitted, sub
 routed, rtd
 held, hld
 accepted, acc
 released, rel
 completed, cmp
 stopped, stp
 rejected, rej
 canceled, can
Lifecycle lifecycle:
Item Lifecycles Name or Display name as document or part Lifecycle value3 lifecycle:Service
Trustee trustee: Persons Name as document or part Trustee
or as change form Originator
Use double-quotes if you want to include a space
trustee:"pat lee"
Version version:
A document or part iteration's Version value3 version:6a5f91e3
Checkbox true is: Parts marked as serialized, certified, compliant4 is:serialized
Checkbox false isnot: Parts not marked as serialized, certified, compliant4 isnot:certified
  1. On the Item Explorer's search results list, a bold column header hints that the name (or first letter) can be used as a filter.

  2. The isempty parameter enables searching for empty (missing) text.

  3. These values are shown on a part or document iteration. A single item may have more than one iteration, and more than one value. A Released iteration's lifecycle ranks higher, and a Canceled lifecycle is lower, than a Pending iteration's lifecycle.

  4. If the part type compliance label is Complies, then is:Complies returns parts that have the checkbox marked. Use double quotes if the label contains any spaces. Labels are not case-sensitive: isnot:"Meets RoHS" is the same as isnot:"meets rohs"

Filter categories can exclude items; for example, -class:part excludes all parts from the search results. You can mix parameters; for example, state:(ORG || SUB) returns change forms that are at the Originated or Submitted lifecycle state.

Custom attributes §

Where the custom attribute scheme is:

  • Boolean: The is: and isnot: filters are supported.
  • Integer: Searches return the exact match only, without any digits after the decimal. For instance, 10 will return only 10, and not 10.01 or -10.
  • Float, UOM, Money: All numbers with fractional values are converted to text strings. The indexed values always include the integer and at least one fractional digit. Other fractional values are rounded and saved with up to 7 decimal digits, unless the trailing digits are 0. For example, the custom attribute value 23.00018 is returned in a search for 23, 23.0, 23.0002 or 23.00018, but not 23.000 or 23.000180.
  • UOM, Money: Item values are searched using the numeric value followed (without a space) with a unit of measure or ISO currency; for example, 12kg or 17.25USD.
  • Date: A date is saved in the form YYYY-MM-DD (numeric year-month-day). For example, search for March 21, 2017 as: 2017-03-21. You can use wildcards, for example: 2017-03-??.

Invalid queries §

Using operators like  ( ) { } [ ] * - " ? : \  in organization names, item numbers, and descriptions make search tokens more difficult to enter and correctly parse. For example, the result 2 inches will be found when both the description and search token use 2in rather than 2".

  • You cannot search for stop words such as a, an, and the.

  • You cannot directly include operators  + - && || ! ( ) { } [ ] ^ " ~ * ? : \  as search terms, unless you use the backslash character, such as \+ and \:  For example, search for the text 2" using 2\"

Parsing rules §

  • Any symbol that is not an operator is treated as whitespace, except as noted.

  • Period (full stop) . is treated as an alphanumeric: 3.1415 and ABC.XYZ are parsed as single tokens, and not like 3 1415 or ABC XYZ

  • Implied operators (OR) are added and stop words may be removed.

Underscores and hyphens §

An underscore _ and hyphen - symbol may be treated as a space character, so that the string is split into separate search tokens. This is intended to split connected words, but not affect numbers with embedded delimiters (like part and document numbers, or dates).

The search token is split when the text segment on each side of the symbol does not contain any number character, and the token is not an email or web address.

Thus, the token serial_number is treated as serial number (unless it's in an email or web address), and 90816-01 remains a single token.

In the search token ABC_xyz_Q123-456, the value is split into two tokens: ABC and xyz_Q123-456. The value xyz_Q123-456 is not split as xyz Q123 456 because Q123 contains number characters. Thus, these criteria are possible:

  • ABC

  • xyz_Q123-456

  • xyz*456

  • abc && *q123-*

  • "abc xyz_q123-456"

File & link searches §

PDXpert uses a private search engine for database text and the server computer's Windows Search service for file attachments. These engines look at different data, and follow different rules.

File paths and URIs are parsed as identifiers with a mix of symbols and alphanumerics. An search for a web link may have different item record results, shown in the upper part of the Item Explorer's Search list, than Windows Search results shown in the lower section.

For example, a database record with as a custom attribute finds the record using W275Q. Item parsing treats the / as a space, the : as a reserved operator, and the other characters as separate tokens: http W275Q. However, Windows Search needs *W275Q to find the external link; it appears to drop the http:// and treats the remaining characters as an unbroken text string.

Definitions §

Letters A-Z, a-z and their Unicode equivalents, and the numbers 0-9.
The set of all terms and operators used to define the search.
Number characters and delimiters as YYYY-MM-DD [ISO8601] or MM/DD/YYYY [US].
letter character
Any valid character in ranges A to Z, a to z or its local language Unicode equivalent.
One or more characters in the range 0 to 9.
A symbol that signals special treatment for the immediately-following term.
search term
Valid characters in quotes, or a token, but not including any operator that acts on the term.
search token
A sequence of one or more valid characters.
stop word
A common word that won't add value to searches, and is not indexed.
A character that is not an alphanumeric (A-Z,0-9) character.
valid character
Any user-entered alphanumeric or symbol character, except non-display control characters.

Operators acting on a single term §

* operator
Search wildcard that can be replaced by zero or more characters.
? operator
Search wildcard that can be replaced by exactly one character.
+ operator
Term is required as part of search results.
- operator
Term is excluded from search results.

Operators between two terms §

&& operator
Logical AND search operator that requires both terms in the results.
|| operator
Logical OR search operator that requires at least one of the terms in the results.
[   TO   ]
A range from one item numbers to another, including the range end points.
~ operator
Requires two terms to be within a specified distance: ~3 allows gap of up to 3 words.

Grouping operators §

(  ) group
Makes a logical group of terms for Boolean (AND / && or OR / ||) functions.
"  " group
Groups one or more valid characters and spaces to make a search term.

Stop words §

Very common words are always excluded from indexing, and are ignored in search criteria. These include:

  • a
  • an
  • and
  • are
  • as
  • at
  • be
  • but
  • by
  • for
  • if
  • in
  • into
  • is
  • it
  • no
  • not
  • of
  • on
  • or
  • s
  • such
  • t
  • that
  • the
  • their
  • then
  • there
  • these
  • they
  • this
  • to
  • was
  • will
  • with


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