As you've probably heard in your welcome message and in the forum rules, it's important to do a search before starting a new topic on StP. The reason for this is so that we don't have 1,000 threads on the same topic. By consolidating topics and questions into as few threads as possible, it makes it easier for everyone to find the information they are looking for (because there are fewer topics to search through).
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.Basic Search
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.
Simple enough, right? Well there's some more advanced functions available that will make your search much easier if you know how to use it.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 advanced button. First let's take a look at the basic search options.
It should be noted that if you're using a mobile device, the above options will be hidden in the advanced search menu; you can access the advanced search options by tapping on the gear icon in the search field.
Using just these options alone can provide some powerful tools in your search for particular content. For example, you could do a search with the text "hitchhiking canada" while confining the search to show only content I've posted (by typing 'Matt Derrick' in the By: Member field. So as you can see, you can get quite specific in your 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 mentioned above.Searching In Threads
One last thing before we move on to the advanced search options. 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 this thread option in the drop down menu. If you'd like to restrict your search to the forum section the thread you're viewing resides in, check the this forum option in the drop down menu.
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 using above, you'll notice there is an advanced button next to the search button:
Or on mobile devices, the advanced search options can be accessed by tapping on the gear icon:
This 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:
Fortunately, most of these options are fairly self-explanitory. You can get quite ganular in your searches, including specifically searching only the gallery, or library, or searching within a specific period of time, restrict your search to specific forum areas, or even narrowing down your search to threads with a specific thread prefix.