How to use the Knowledgebase Effectively

This is a "key word" search

This is a keyword search that looks for Knowledgebase articles that contain one or more words specified by you the user.  Search is simple: just type whatever comes to mind in the search box, hit Enter or click on the Go button, and it will search the Knowledgebase for articles or threads that are relevant to your query.  The search results are sorted by the frequency of words found in articles and weighted to give preference to tags, title and article content in that order. Words from the article tags rate higher than words from the article title and words from the article title rate higher than words from the article content.

Most of the time you'll find exactly what you were looking for with just a basic query. However the following tips can help you refine your technique to make the most of your searches.


Some basic facts

  • Every word matters. Generally, all the words you put in the query will be used. 
  • Search is always case insensitive. Searching for [ new york times ] is the same as searching for [ New York Times ].
  • Punctuation is ignored (that is, you can't search for @#$%^&*()=+[]\ and other special characters).
  • The logical operators + ! || && etc or quotes for a phrase are disregarded in the search.

  • Use the Advanced Search features to control with greater accuracy the parameters of your search.

  • By default the search will be for End User products.  If you want to include SDK related results use the Advanced Search or check the "Include Developer and SDK articles in this search" box directly below the search text field.


Guidelines for better search

  • Keep it simple. If you're looking for a particular product, just enter its name, or as much of its name as you can recall. If you're looking for a particular concept or topic related to a product, start with its name and add an adjective or description of what you are interested in.  Most queries do not require advanced usage or unusual syntax. Simple is good.
  • Choose descriptive words. The more unique the word is the more likely you are to get relevant results. Words that are not very descriptive, like 'document,' 'website,' 'company,' or 'info,' are usually not needed. Keep in mind, however, that even if the word has the correct meaning but it is not the one most people use, it may not match the pages you need. For example, [ PDF-XChange Viewer ] is more specific than [ your pdf viewer ].
  • Think how the article you are looking for will be written.  The search engine is not a human, it is a program that matches the words you give it to articles in the knowledgebase. Use the words that are most likely to appear in the article. For example, instead of saying [ I cannot make you program work ], say [ install fails ], or [pdfsave.exe crashes system] because that's the term a technical article will use. The query [ I have a problem when I try to print ] is very clear to a person, but the article that gives the answer may not have those words. Instead, use the query [ document print fails from PDF-XChange Viewer ] or even just [ print, fail,viewer ], because that is probably what the right page will say.
  • Describe what you need with as few terms as possible. The goal of each word in a query is to focus it further. Since all words are used, each additional word limits the results. If you limit too much, you will miss a lot of useful information. The main advantage to starting with fewer keywords is that, if you don't get what you need, the results will likely give you a good indication of what additional words are needed to refine your results on the next search. For example, [ viewer install fail XP ] is a simple way to find articles about problems you may have encountered during installation of PDF-XChange Viewer in Windows XP and it is likely to give better results than the longer [ I am experiencing an installation issue when trying to install PDF-XChange Viewer on my Microsoft Windows XP computer ].