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Documentation & User Guides | FotoWare

Searching for assets

When you log in to FotoWare you're taken to the site's home page after logging in where there is a large search bar at the top of the screen.

FotoWeb FR8 Search bar Main UI.png

When you access an archive, the search bar is moved up into the top banner:

FotoWeb FR8 Search bar in grid.png

Using FotoWare Pro? Learn how to search in FotoWare Pro in another article!

Performing a basic search

To perform a basic search, simply start typing words in the search box. This will execute a full-text search across all the entire definition of metadata fields.


beautiful beach

By default this will be construed as the precise string "beautiful beach".  The way FotoWare interprets searches that contain several words without quotation marks to separate them can be configured by the FotoWare administrator in the search string modification settings.

Searching for an exact phrase

To search for an exact phrase, such as a complete name, enclose the phrase in quotation marks:

"barack obama"

This will only produce hits in assets that contain the exact phrase barack obama, but not, for example, return assets that contain the phrase president obama.

Searching in specific fields

To search in a specific field, you will need to specify the field followed by the word or phrase you're searching for.

For example, to search for winter in the Keywords field (field no 25):


You can also expand this search - say you want to search for winter and snow as keywords in field 25:

25:winter & 25:snow

This example uses the boolean operator AND - a complete list of such operators can be found below.

To go even further, let's imagine a search for winter and snow in field 25 and the phrase alpine skiing in the caption (field 120):

25:winter & 25:snow & 120:"alpine skiing"

A note on the last example above

In the last example above, a search string such as 25:winter&snow will produce another result, since it specifies a search for winter in field 25, while the search for snow is based on free-text in all fields in the metadata definition since no field is specifically set for that term.

A complete list of XMP fields in the definition that comes with the standard FotoWare installation can be found here.


When you are searching, you can make use of some special characters that can help you find what you are looking for. These special characters are:

? (question mark)

Matches any single character



This search will match the word shoes, but not shoe.

* (asterisk)

Matches any number (including zero) of characters



This search will match shoe, shoes, shoestring etc.

Example: Searching for filenames using wildcards


Finds all assets whose filename has the extension .jpg. A complete list of specifiers (predicates) can be found in the search reference.

Boolean search

The following boolean operators can be used:

Operator Example search Result
AND / &

winter & snow

winter AND snow

Finds assets with both words present. 

Note: The AND operators can be omitted: If two clauses are put next to each other, they are implicitly combined using the AND operator

OR / |

apples OR pears

apples | pears

Expression matches if both or both operands matches.
NOT / - apples NOT pears Expression matches assets with the words apples that does not also contain the word pears

Additional details can be found in the search reference.

Numeric range search

A numeric range search can be used to search for pictures of a certain size, assets within a date range and suchlike.

There are two range forms that can be used, closed range form and open range form.

Closed range form example:


This will execute a search for pictures with a pixel width in the range 800 to 2048 pixels

Open range form example

pwf:800 AND pwt:2048

This is essentially the same search; we have specified pixel width from (pwf) and pixel width to (pwt) - A complete list of operators can be found in the search expressions reference article.

The benefit of using an open range form is that you can specify only an upper or a lower limit. So if you're interested in finding pictures that are 800 pixels wide or more, but don't want to specify an upper limit, your search can look like this:



Example 1: Searching for assets that have been modified between Jan 1st and 31st 2016


Here we use the mt specifier, modified time, which lets us set an interval.

Example 2: Searching for assets that have been modified since Jan 1st 2016


This search uses the mtf specified, modified time from, without specifying an end. Hence, all files modified since the specified start date will be found.

Example 3: Searching for assets that have been uploaded since Jan 1st 2016

A slightly different approach is needed when searching in xmp date fields: To find files that have been uploaded since Jan 1st 2016, we can perform a search in the Uploaded time field (no 362). The syntax will then look like this:


Since there is no way to specify an end date representing today, you can use an imagined date far into the future - in this case we've set an end date in the year 9999. The same can be used to set a start date far into the past - you can for example set the start date in the year 1700 to make sure you include all files since then.

A complete set of available search expressions can be found in the search expressions reference article.

Extended search

When searching for assets, it is possible to use extended search parameters to more closely specify which fields to search in, folder names to include and more. Learn more about the extended search.

Search result display

When you have executed a search, a number on each archive tab indicates the number of hits in each archive, and you can switch between archives to to see the files.

Clearing the search

To clear the search, click on the X in the search field.

Other ways to locate files

Though performing a search is a convenient way to locate the files you're looking for, you may also find that browsing archives by folders or taxonomies, when available, can also be very useful to find assets.

Further reading: Complete search reference

A complete overview of FotoWare's search capabilities can be found in the Search Expressions reference article.

Searching for assets using Asian languages

Some Asian languages (such as Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Korean) do not have spaces between all words. To support full text search in these languages, FotoWare automatically wraps search words in Asian languages between wildcards. For example, if the user searches for "สตาร์คราฟต์", FotoWare internally searches for "*สตาร์คราฟต์*". This causes the search to match assets where the search word appears in a sentence in the Thai language without being separated from the rest of the text by spaces.

Wildcard wrapping is applied separately to each word in a search expression. It is only applied to words that contain letters in one of the following languages: Thai, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (not including rare and historical characters with Unicode values above U+FFFF). This means that, when searching for words that do not contain any of these Asian characters, such as numbers or names in Latin characters, users have to manually enclose them in wildcards. For example, a user manually needs to search for "*1950*" instead of "1950" to match the number "1950" in a sentence in Chinese, where "1950" is not separated from the rest of the text by spaces.

Wildcard wrapping is applied to both full text searches and taxonomy searches (regular and custom search) as well as field searches using the API. In all cases, wildcards are applied per word.

Note: Wildcard-wrapping as described above has an impact on performance and will increase search times.