FrogTip: Compound Search

Posted by – February 17, 2011

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The free-format structure and instant-retrieval search are the heart and soul of NoteFrog. However, the power of a Frog’s compound-search (“AND”) tool is sometimes overlooked.

You are probably aware that hitting the Return (CR) key will complete the search for your current search string and clear the search field for a new compounded (AND) search string to be applied to the set of notes that has satisfied previous search terms. You can continue to add additional compound terms each time you hit an additional CR.

For example, entering tom, dick, and harry, each followed by a CR will first show you all your notes containing “tom” followed by all those notes also containing “dick” and finally all notes containing all three compounded terms “tom” AND “dick” AND “harry” anywhere in their content.

OK, so that alone is a FrogTip for those not yet using the power of compound searches. But we will add a couple more nuances:

While the sequence that you input your terms will not influence the final selection of notes that match your terms, it will produce a slightly different final display of those notes. That is because your final search term will be the one that is hilited in the displays of the matching notes. This is seldom a problem, but it can be a bit of a nuisance in some cases. Fortunately, there are two ways to solve this problem- one is pretty obvious, the other a bit less so. We will use another example to explain.

Suppose you have a single large note that contains your entire address book of less-frequent contacts. You would like to get Katy’s cell phone number. You type in the compound search katy(CR)cell. Sure enough, that leaves you with only your single large less-frequent-contacts note selected, but unfortunately it is showing the first hilited occurrence of the final search term cell which requires you to proceed down the display until reaching the hilited cell that is associated with Katy. Well, the first part of the tip is to note that had you entered the two terms in opposite order (with the most specific term last) the resulting display would be hiliting the first katy that was found rather than the first cell, which is much more likely to be what you are after. The second part of this tip is that when you forget to do your compound searches most-specific-last sequence (which will probably be every time) there is no need to clear the search and start over, just enter that most specific search term again and it will become the new hilited term. This works no matter how many terms you have entered- just hit (CR) and re-enter the most specific term again.

You will also find that using this often overlooked (CR). . . . technique will become more and more valuable to you for many of your searches.

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