Advanced Searching

Advanced searching capabilities are available with the Advanced Search dialog, which is accessed by clicking the magnifying glass button above the lexical item list or by selecting the Advanced Search option under the Edit menu.  The dialog displays 6 different lexical item fields that can be used to perform a search.  Plus, a panel labeled Additional Constraints at the bottom allows for further search options.  Once you have specified the search criteria that you want, clicking the Search button will return you to the main application window at which point the search is activated.  Now, only lexical items that conform to your search criteria will be displayed in the lexical item list.  Additionally, the search text field will display "searching..." to indicate a search is being performed and the magnifying glass button will contain a red X, which can be clicked to cancel the search.

When the Advanced Search dialog is initially displayed no constraints have been set.  Therefore, simply opening the dialog and clicking the Search button will activate a search, but all lexical items will still be shown because none will be filtered out.  In order to narrow the search criteria you must specify or change at least 1 of the 6 default constraints or add an additional constraint.

Of the 6 default constraints the item text and translation are the first.1  These two fields filter items similarly to the search text field in the main window.  Initially, they are blank, meaning the search should not filter lexical items based on these fields.  If you do want to find lexical items that have item text containing a particular string then enter the string into the item text field.  To find items that contain a particular string in the translation then enter it into the translation field.  As with all constraints, the results of using more than 1 field will causes the search to look for lexical items that conform to both constraints.  Therefore, if you enter a string into the item text field and another string into the translation field then the any lexical item that doesn't conform to both constraints will be filtered out.

One difference with a text field constraint in the Advanced Search dialog compared with the search text field in the main window is that you can search for string A or string B simply by placing a space between the 2 stings.  For example, if you're looking for lexical items that has a translation containing smell or odor or aroma then you can add the following translation constraint: smell odor aroma.  This constraint will return all items that contain at least one of these translations.  On the other hand, if you're looking for a string that contains a space then you can surround the string with quotes: "sweat aroma".  This same technique can be used when searching for text using the Additional Constraints panels as we'll see in a minute.

The next constraint in the dialog is lexical type.  By default all lexical type checkboxes are checked indicating that all types will be returned by the search.  If you want to limit the search to nouns (assuming noun is a lexical type in the lexicon) then uncheck all checkboxes except the noun checkbox.  A shortcut is to use hold the control when checking or unchecking a checkbox.  This causes all lexical type checkboxes to be checked or unchecked.

The next 2 default constraints are the creation date and the modification date.  You can use these fields to find items that were created 6 months ago or items that were just recently modified.  To do this you must provide a date range.  Initially, the range is set to return all lexical items by having the start date of each field set to the date that the first lexical item was created and the end date set to tomorrow's date.

The last default constraint is the difficulty rating, which is indicated by a horizontal bar scale.  Again, its initial setting will return all items.  To change this, drag the triangular indicators up and down the scale with the mouse.  Note that the large gray bar in the middle of the scale indicates an unrated difficulty.

If you want to search on any other lexical item fields then you'll need to add an additional constraint within the Additional Constraints panel.  To do this, simply click that Add button and a new constraint will appear within the panel's table.  The table has 4 columns: Field, Rule, Type, and Text.  The Field column defines on which lexical item field to place the constraint.  Your choices are Status, Pronunciation, Root, Synonyms, Antonyms, Phonetic, Related, Comments, and Personal Examples.  Depending on your lexicon's configuration you may also see Gender, Class, Region, and Conjugation.  The remaining columns are used differently depending on which field is selected.

Selecting Pronunciation, Root, Synonym, Antonym, Phonetic, Related, or Comments for the field allows you to search for a least 1 lexical item that has or doesn't have a value for that field.  Optionally, you can also specify text that the value should or should not contain.  Hence, the Rule column will have a dropdown that can be set to either has or doesn't have, the Type column isn't used, and the Text column can optionally be filled in with text that you're trying or not trying to find.  If no text is entered then items will simply be found based on whether or not they have the field assigned.

A Personal Example or Conjugation constraint also shows has or doesn't have for the rule.  However, unlike the previously fields, these two use the Type column.  If you've set the lexicon to track personal example verification then a Personal Example constraint will allow you to search for verified, unverified, or any type of personal example. Setting up a constraint to find unverified personal examples can be very useful when you want to print them out to bring to your teacher.

A Conjugation constraint also uses the Type column to allow you to specify which type of conjugation you're looking for.  The exact choices depend on what conjugations are defined in your lexicon.  As an example, perhaps you are just now learning the future tense of certain verb types.  You've already entered the future tense conjugation for some verbs, but now you want to add it to the remaining verbs.  To do this simply select the doesn't have rule and the future conjugation from the Type column.  By also limiting your search to verbs, you can quickly find all verbs that don't yet have the future conjugation filled in.

The remaining fields, Status, Region, Gender, and Class also use the Type column, but not the Text column.  These constraints all define a rule that has the field equal to some value.  For example, status can be active or inactive.  Gender is usually equal to masculine or feminine, but this depends on the lexicon configuration as do region and class constraints.


1  If working with a monolingual dictionary then you have the option of searching by definition instead of translation.