Almost everyone uses the delivered Help files at some point, but many never get beyond the Contents tab, or possibly the Index when looking for something specific.
However, the next two tabs represent the real power of the Bentley help file format, and can go a long way in helping you to find and recall what you’re looking for. Let’s start by using the Search tab. In this case we’re going to look for “hand rail”. Notice that it returns five topics, the first of which has no results until about half way down the page, where that first instance is the word “railing”.
The reason “railing” is the first word found, even though it’s not exactly what we’re searching for, is because we are also searching for related words due to the “Match similar words” option:
If we turn this option off and re-list the results, we now have a total of three topics, the first of which includes only the words “hand” and “rail”.
But suppose we didn’t want to find all instances of either word, but only the complete phrase… This is as easy as adding opening and closing quotes around the words. Now we’re down to two topics that include only the complete phrase.
Here is another example of the last three variations above, this time using Cached Dynamic Views as our search text.
We can also search for text that is only part of a topic’s Title and not in the body of the article. For example:
As you can see, the Search tab is a great way to find what you’re looking for by allowing you to search in a very broad or granular fashion. Here’s a topic I’ve used a few times:
Since I occasionally need to refer to this particular topic it would be great if I could find it without retyping. Fortunately, the Search tab also remembers your most recently used search terms, and offers those in a convenient drop-down list:
However, this list can get full very fast if you’ve done a lot of searches, particularly if you’ve only modified the search terms slightly each time around. Luckily we have one last tab in the Help file – Favorites. And as its name implies, you can save your current search results for later use.
Once saved, you have a few additional options via a right-click pop-up menu:
Hopefully this article has helped to remove some of the mystery of how to best find what you’re looking for in our delivered Help files. Granted, you still need to know the terms that you’re looking for, but by understanding how to adjust the breadth of your search you should be able to zero in on the results much quicker.