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Searching the Documentation

To perform a simple search in InterSystems documentation, enter search terms in the Search: field near the top right of any page and then press Enter. This displays the results on the advanced search page, which provides additional search options. You can then perform additional searches.


This search page does not support any special search syntax. For example, do not put quotation marks (“”) around the search term unless they are, themselves, part of the search item. Also, whitespace and control characters are removed from the start and end of the search terms.

Options on the Advanced Search Page

When you perform any search, the advanced search page is displayed (with your search results). Note that you can also access the advanced search page by clicking the Search: label near the top right of any page, without entering any search terms.

The advanced search page provides the following search options:

  • Search words — Enter search terms in this field, referred to below as the content field. Previous search terms with the same spelling will appear in a drop-down list as you type, so you also may select one from the list if you would like to search for it again.

  • Find topics with menu: choose all words or any word.

    The default setting is to find results that include all terms.

    If you do not know the exact term you are seeking, enter several synonyms and select Find topics with any word to determine which term the documentation uses. For example, if you are not sure whether to search for the word transform or the word translate, enter both into the content field and select the option Find topics with any word.

  • Search type — Use the menu to choose Word match (with word variations), Exact character match (except for case), or Exact character match (including case). See “Search Type” for more details.

  • The Search button — Click to search.

  • The Reset button — Click to clear the content field and return to default search rules.

  • The Search the Web button — Click to use the terms specified in the content field for a Google search of the website

In addition to the above elements, there is an menu with which you can restrict your search further:

  • Tags — Select a tag from the list, or keep the default all tags. Tags are a useful way to narrow your search if you are looking for a topic that spans multiple books but also might return an unwieldy number of hits. For example, if you search for just SQL, the search will return hundreds of results. If you instead select the SQL tag and enter a related search term in the content field, the search returns only topics that are relevant to SQL, rather than any reference to it.

Default Search Rules

The following are the default rules for searches:

  • A search can include one or more terms.

  • The search engine returns results that contain all terms.

  • The default search is not case-sensitive. For example, searches for SET, Set, and set yield the same results.

Search Type

The Search type drop-down list lets you control whether the search is case-sensitive and whether the case uses stemming.

The default search type is Exact character match (except for case), which searches for an exact string but ignores the case of the search term.

If you do not know the case of a search term, the default is convenient. If you know the exact capitalization of a term, select Exact character match (including case) to further restrict results.

The option Word match (with word variations) is sometimes called a stemmed search or free-text search. This kind of search is based on an extensive list of related forms of words. For any word appearing in the list, the search engine takes the stem of each word provided and finds all matches associated with that stem. For example, save, saving, and saved all yield the same results. The order of the results is the same for all variants of a particular stem (for example, regardless of whether a search is for save or saving). Note that words that contain the same string are not necessarily stemmed variations of each other. For example, a stemmed search for the word “user” does not return results including username. For details, see the section “Using Free-text Search” in the chapter “Querying the Database” of Using InterSystems SQL.

Searching for Symbols and Special Characters

The free-text search will ignore non-alphanumeric symbols, with the exception of the special characters “$” and “%,” which have special meaning in ObjectScript commands and keywords. If your search text includes non-alphanumeric symbols such as a caret (^), use exact character search to make sure they are included in the search query. For example, if you are searching for the routine ^DATABASE, but you do not want to do a general search for the word database, use exact character search to narrow your results.

The search engine indexes words that include é as if they contained e; it also indexes words that include ñ as if they contained n. For example, use Espanol instead of Español.


Do not put quotation marks (“”) around the search term unless they are, themselves, part of the search item.

URL Parameters

To help you create searches programmatically, the search page DocBook.UI.SearchPageZen.cls supports the URL parameters, which are as follows:


Specifies the search term or terms.


Corresponds to the first menu. For this parameter, the value AND corresponds to Find topics with all words. The value OR corresponds to Find topics with any word.


Corresponds to the Search Type menu. For this parameter, 1 corresponds to Word match (with word variations), 2 corresponds to Exact character match (except for case), and 3 corresponds to the Exact character match (including case).


Corresponds to the tags menu.