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About Search

This feature is supported in DotNet Help, HTML Help, WebHelp, WebHelp Plus, WebHelp AIR, and WebHelp Mobile output.

When your end users need to find specific information in your project, the three most common methods they use are: the search feature, a table of contents (TOC), and an index.

You can add the search feature to any of your online output targets. When users want to find information about a specific subject, they enter key words in the Search field. A search engine looks through every topic in your project to find the term(s) entered by the user. When it finds the terms, it presents the user with a list of topics to open. Search results are ranked, not listed alphabetically.

The search feature is good because it is very thorough. However, it also might return several topics that contain the search terms but are not really relevant for the user's needs. That is why creating an index is also important.

Steps for Using Search

Following are the basic steps for adding the search feature for your end users:

  1. Enable search To include the search feature in your output, simply enable it in the skin you want to use for the target. See Enabling Search in Skins.
  2. Associate skin with target Now that the search feature is enabled in the skin, you need to associate that skin with the target you are building. See Associating Skins with Targets.
  3. (Optional) Add search filter A search filter lets users narrow their search based on concepts. Concepts are simply keyword markers that you insert into topics that have some kind of relationship with each other. They are also used for inserting concept links into topics (such as the "See Also" link that you see at the bottom of this topic). For more information see the following:
  4. (Optional) Modify styles for highlighted search terms When users perform searches in your online output, the keywords that are found are highlighted in the topics. The background for each term found in a topic is highlighted in a different color. In Flare you can create styles for this purpose and change not only the color background, but other settings as well (e.g., font style, text decoration). See Using Styles to Change the Look of Highlighted Search Terms.
  5. (Optional) Include or exclude topics from search You can include a particular topic in the generated output but exclude it from any search that users perform. See Including or Excluding Topics in Search.
  6. (Optional) Include stop words in searchFlare has a "stop words" list behind the scenes that omits certain common words (such as "an" and "the") when users perform searches. However, if you would like those common words to be included in user searches, you can easily do so. See Including Stop Words in Search.

Note: The MadCap Help Viewer supports wildcard searches on Microsoft Windows XP (and newer operating systems) when SQL Compact is installed (see Installing SQL Server). For example, if you type Mad* in the Search field, Flare will list all topics that contain words starting with "Mad" (e.g., MadCap, Madagascar, madness, Madrid).

This means that you can perform wildcard searches in Flare's online Help. In addition, if you distribute DotNet Help output and the MadCap Help Viewer to your users, they can perform wildcard searches in your Help system. The search response is also faster with this option.

To set this option, open the target, select the Performance tab of the Target Editor, and select Include SQL Search Database.

Note: If end users want to find a specific combination of words that are always next to each other in the same order (e.g., content management system), they can enter the search keywords within quotation marks (e.g., "content management system").

Server-Side search

Following are some additional features of search that may be available to you. Some of these features are available if you integrate your project with MadCap Feedback, and others are available if you use the WebHelp Plus output:

Features Available with MadCap Feedback

For more information about MadCap Feedback, see About MadCap Feedback and Features and Benefits of MadCap Feedback.

Features Available with WebHelp Plus

For more information see About WebHelp Plus Output, Including Non-XHTML Files in Search, and About Advanced Server Features in WebHelp Plus.

Note: If you are generating WebHelp Mobile output, please note that search is not supported in Palm operating systems.

Note: If you have problems with search working in HTML Help output, you might need to register a dll file called "RegisterItcc.bat." This may occur if you previously had a program such as RoboHelp installed and then uninstalled it. As a result, the dll file was unregistered. Following are the necessary steps for registering the dll file, depending on whether you are working in 32-bit or 64-bit.

To register the dll in Windows:

In Windows Explorer find and double-click the following file:

C:\Program Files\MadCap Software\MadCap Flare V6\Flare.app\Resources\Bin\RegisterItcc.bat

To register the dll in 32-bit Windows 7:

1. In Windows Explorer navigate to the Resources/Bin folder where you installed Flare (e.g., C:\Program Files\MadCap Software\MadCap Flare V6\Flare.app\Resources\Bin).

2. Right-click on RegisterItcc.bat and select the option to run it as an administrator.

To register the dll in 64-bit Windows 7:

1. In Windows Explorer navigate to C:\WINDOWS\system32.

2. Right-click on the file cmd.exe and select the option to run it as an administrator. The command prompt window opens.

3. At the command prompt, type the following and press Enter:

       "C:\Program Files (x86)\MadCap Software\MadCap Flare V6\Flare.app\Resources\bin"

4. Type RegisterItcc.bat and press Enter.

5. Close the command prompt window.

See Also

Downloads (PDF Format):

Flare Quick Guide

Flare Getting Started Guide

Flare What's New Guide

Flare Key Features Guide

Flare Transition From RoboHelp Guide

Flare Transition From FrameMaker Guide

Flare Styles Guide

Flare Printed Output Guide

Flare WebHelp Plus Guide

Flare Shortcuts