This guide is going to walk you through using all the various parts of the search engine, so by the end you should be an expert in trying to find whatever you need buried in the hundreds of thousands of threads we have here in the StP forums.
That said, doing a basic search is really easy. Just click on the magnifying glass icon type in your query, and hit enter or click the search button.
Search Options Breakdown
The drop down menu for the search engine has a few options built in, and even more available when you click on the "More..." button. First let's take a look at the basic search options.
- The search field - This is the basic search field we used in the previous example.
- Search titles only - Checking this box changes your search so that the search engine checks your words against the thread titles only, ignoring the text inside the thread.
- Posted by Member - This further refines your search to only return results posted by a certain user.
- Newer Than - This field lets you define a time period that results should fall into. In this case, the date you choose will return all results that were posted to the website after that date. When you click on this text field you'll be presented with a drop down calendar like so:
So as you can see, you can get quite specific in you searches. Obviously, the more specific your search, the less results you'll get, and many times you'll get no hits at all. If this happens, try broadening your search by changing the options we tweaked above.
When clicking on the magnifying glass, in the drop down search menu there is yet another drop down menu:
This drop down menu provides you with a few of the most common search types in a convenient shortcut menu.
Searching In Threads
One last thing before we move on to the advanced search page. When you're viewing a thread in the forums the search drop down menu automatically changes to provide you with some new options:
These options are incredibly handy for finding content in long threads (say, 50 pages or more). If you're looking for something in particular inside the thread you're currently viewing, click the Search this thread only check box. If you'd like to restrict your search to the forum section the thread you're viewing resides in, check the Search this forum only box. Display results as threads is explained in more detail below.
The above should be good enough for 90% of you, but if you're really looking to do some digging using the search engine, continue through the rest of the tutorial below.
Advanced Search Page
In the drop down menu we were playing with above, you'll notice there's a More button next to the search button.
Clicking this button will take you to the advanced search page. You can also access this page directly via the following url:
The advanced search page has even more tools you can use to get the information you're looking for:
Most of these fields we've covered previously, but let's go over a few of the new ones we have available. You can search through the different kinds of content available on StP using the various tabs at the top of the search page. The options available to you will vary depending on the type of content you're searching through, so let's just start with the Search Everything tab.
The "Search Everything" tab will always be the first tab highlighted when navigating to the advanced search page. As the title suggests, this area lets you search through all the available content on StP. The only major difference between this area and the standard drop down search menu is that you can choose to search individual forum areas:
Click on the forum section you want to confine your search to. You can select multiple forums by holding down the ctrl button (command/apple button on mac) and clicking on each of the forum sections you'd like to search. The search child forums box is checked by default, so the search engine will check any sub-forums under the ones you're searching through. Uncheck this box if you do not want to include these sub-forums in your search.
Search Threads & Posts
We've covered most of this before, so I'll just skip to the options that are specific to this type of content.
- Minimum Number of Replies - Defining a number here will restrict your search to threads with that many replies or more. This is useful for filtering out threads that don't have any replies (set to 1).
- Thread Prefixes - I often refer to these as 'thread tabs' since they're how we organize a lot of the content you'll find here on StP. Check out the FAQ guide here to learn more about thread tabs/prefixes. Obviously, choosing one or more of these thread prefixes will restrict your search to content that has been posted with those prefixes/tabs attached to them.
- Order By - These three options will let you order the results by most recent, content with the most replies, or by organizing the results with the oldest content first.
Search Profile Posts
This tab lets you search only through content that has been posted on user's profiles. Most of the content here will look pretty familiar by now, but there's one new field you should be aware of:
Posted on the Profile of Member - This field lets you define a specific member's profile you'd like to search for content.
Searching Articles, Reviews, FAQ, Files, and Conversations
Each of these sections use the same kinds of search fields we've covered previously, so you shouldn't have any issues using them. Of course, if you have any questions, let me know by clicking the ask a question link to the left.