I have a confession (and it seems as though this blog turns in to my confessional more often that I’d care to admit!)…I’ve never really understood what Search Filters do.

Kind of like String Theory. I know all the words used to describe String Theory, but when put together in to sentences and paragraphs, not even Morgan Freeman can make it make sense.

Yes, I looked up Search Filters (not String Theory) in the Flare help system:

A filter can be included in the search feature to let users narrow their search based on concepts that you have inserted into topics. Concepts are simply markers that you add to 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).

And I understood the words there – but I didn’t understand the concept, the “how do I apply this to my project” part of it…

…until very recently.

Now I get it.

I’ll tell you what I know them to be – and then I’ll show you how to build your own Search Filter Set.

Let’s say I write proposals as part of my job and I use Flare to do this. In every proposal, I have a recurring series of topics that, while the topic titles are similar or even exact, the content is not.

And let’s say that I wrote a topic on Subcontractor Management a few proposals back. I even know which proposal I wrote it for. And what I wrote was good. I’m not talking every day good – but rather proposal-winning good. I need to find that content.

So, I have the topic subject, Subcontractor Management, and the proposal name: FDA. But I need to find that particular topic among the many other topics and paragraphs that contain those words.

I could do a search in the online output of all of my proposals with these criteria: “FDA Subcontractor Management.” We won’t get in to how I should surround “Subcontractor Management” with quotes so only topics with those two words in that order are found…but the problem is, if the acronym is not included anywhere in the topic, I won’t find it. It simply won’t appear in my search results. Instead I will get a bazillion results that I’ll have to sift through until I realize that the topic I need isn’t listed in the results.



Now, the other option I can think of is to use the nav bar (TOC) on the left side of the online help and look for the FDA proposal, which I find quite easily…but how do I find the topic of Subcontractor Management quickly? I can’t unless I know exactly where to look.

To solve this problem, I’m going to create a Search Filter Set. In short, it will allow me to

  • Limit my search to a particular proposal
  • Use the Search feature of my online help
  • Use all the features that come with the search, like quotes around phrases

Capture123Much better! From 28 results to 2! I can live with that!

“That’s great,” you say, “but how I do make that little pull-down doohickey appear in my search bar?”

I’ll show you, but first I’ll give a quick list of steps:

  1. Create concept terms
  2. Apply concepts to topics
  3. Create Search Filter based on Concepts
  4. Add Search Filter to Target
  5. Go.

Create Concept Terms

First I have to create at least one concept term. In this instance, I’m going to create a series of concept terms based on the proposal name. So I’ll have FDA, DON, DOS, etc.

To create the first concept, I’m going to open a topic that was part of the FDA proposal.

Then, I open the Concept Window via the View tab in the ribbon.


The result is this handy-dandy window appearing on the right side of my Flare UI:


Now I already have a bunch of concepts created and they appear listed in the bottom half of the window. Your window may be empty if you have no concepts.

Just to be sure, I click in the open topic, preferably in the h1. Then I type ‘FDA’ in the Concept Term window. You’ll see a big green box appear in your h1, or wherever you clicked in your topic.


Applying the Concept to Topics

Don’t go panicking and saying, “Laura, I have a gazillion topics that need that concept applied! I will not open each one and do this!”

Trust me – I wouldn’t do it either. So here’s a great place to use the old tried-n-true Search and Replace feature.

I open my Find and Replace in Files window from the Home tab of the ribbon.


Then I flip over to the Text Editor of the topic I just added the concept to (yes I ended a sentence with a preposition…it sounds better!).


You’ll see that the concept term tag is sitting right inside the opening <h1> tag.

Instead of adding the concept to the <h1>, I’m going to add it to the <body>.


You’ll see that I am looking for the opening <body> tag and then replacing it with that same <body> tag plus the code for the concept.

Now to narrow the search:

Since all of the FDA topics in my project are in the FDA folder, I’m going to select (documents in the same folder) for Find in. And I change ‘All’ to ‘Topics’ in the File types.

Capture132Here’s the trick!

I make sure Find in Source Code is checked in Find Options.

Then I do the Find Next/Replace thing until that concept has been added to all the appropriate topics.

Create Search Filter based on Concepts

Now that I’ve applied the concept to the topics, now I have to create the Search Filter. And if you don’t know where those are – join the club. I had to look it up too. The answer: Project Organizer > Project > Advanced > Search Filters.


I open the default set and see this. Not that it’s a little blank and scary….but it’s a little blank and scary.


The first thing I did was click on the New icon – but when it created another row that looked exactly like the first one, I decided to just edit the existing item.

I changed ‘My Subset’ to ‘FDA’ and now I have to associate a concept. When I click on Concepts, the Select Concepts for Search Filter window opens.


You’ll see that I have a bunch of concepts already in this project – but for this exercise, I’m just going to move FDA over via the arrow.


Add Search Filter to Target

OK, we’re almost home! Stay with me!

Finally, I need to tell Flare to use this Search Filter with the right target. I open my HTML5 target, go to the Advanced tab, and look for the Filter File field. I select the search filter I’ve been working on.


Whew!  I’m done. All that’s left is the build. When the build is done, this is how my search works:



4 Responses to “Working with Search Filters”

  1. Jessica January 26, 2016

    What is the benefit to adding the concept to the body tag instead of the H1 tag?

  2. Laura January 26, 2016

    Jessica, thanks for the question. Normally, I would assign a concept to the particular tag to which the concept directly applies. However, in this instance, it was more applicable to the whole topic so I assigned it to the tag instead.

  3. Donna January 27, 2016

    This is awesome! Thank you so much for all the information you share here on your site. I really appreciate it – being a Flare newbie and all :)

  4. Garry November 3, 2016

    This was incredible! I had been struggling with this concept for a while and you explained it so well!

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