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Documentation & User Guides | Fotoware

Creating queries to filter archive content (auto searches)

This document explains the syntax used when creating queries for search filters in FotoWeb.

Basic searching

When delivering a basic search to Index Manager without a field specification, the search is performed across all fields in the Metadata configuration. A basic search in Index Manager could look like this example:

Summer holiday 2010

Index Manager interprets this as a string that has to appear in the files' metadata exactly as is. You will see the search string as (summer holiday 2010) in the Index Manager Settings app.

It may be more practical to search for files where all those words occur, but not necessarily in that exact order. You can rephrase your search and add logical operators to your search string:

summer AND holiday AND 2010

This will search for files where all three words occur, but not necessarily as a continuous string.

Logical operators

Below is a list of logical operators and examples illustrating how they are used to build the search string.

  • AND

 (apples AND pears)

Both apples and pears must be present in the text


  • OR
(apples OR pears)

One of the two words apples and pears must be present in the text.


  • NOT
(apples NOT pears)

The word apples and not pears must be present in the text.


  • NEAR

The syntax when using the “near” operator is w/# where # is a number describing how far apart the two words can be.

(apples w/7 pears)

The words apples and pears must both appear in the text. In addition, apples and pears can not be more than 7 words apart.



This operator must be used alone in a text field. Use this option if you would like to find files where one specific metadata field is empty. You can also combine this option with other searches. Use XNOCAP or XSMALLCAP to find none or small (< 30 characters) metadata in all fields.

Note: The XNOWORD option must be used according to how the Index Manager archive is set up. You can only search for an empty field if Index Manager is set up to index this field as empty.

Avoiding ambiguous search strings

When you are performing advanced searches, make sure to insert parentheses if there is the slightest chance that the search is ambiguous. The search string apples AND pears OR orange juice is an example where it is not clear what you are searching for. You could be looking for apples and pears or orange juice. Then you should write (apples AND pears) OR (orange juice), or you are looking for apples and pears or orange and juice. Then you should write apples AND (pears OR orange) AND juice.

Searching in a specific field

With a powerful search engine, it makes good sense to single out the field you want to search in. This is done by referring to the field ID according to its definition in the server's Metadata configuration.

Example: Byline / Photographer is field 80. To search for a name in that field, use the following syntax:

(IPTC080 contains (John Smith))


Similarly, to find files where the photographer's name is NOT John Smith, enter the following string:

(IPTC080 contains (NOT John Smith))


You can also combine searches across several fields:

(IPTC080 contains (John Smith)) AND (IPTC120 contains (snow AND winter))

This would find files with the name John Smith in the Byline field and where both the words snow and winter occur in the Caption field (no. 120).

Tip: If you need to know the field number of a particular metadata field, see  XMP field code reference.

Note: Searches are not case sensitive.

Using wildcards when searching

When searching, you use some special characters to help you find what you are looking for. These special characters are:

? - matches any one character

Exampleshoe? will match shoes, but not shoe.

* - matches any number (including zero) of characters

Exampleshoe* will match shoeshoes, shoestring, and so on.

% - fuzzy search

Fuzzy searching will find a word even if it is misspelled. Using fuzzy searching to find misspelled words in the caption field, for example, can be useful.

Exampleba%nana will match words that start with ba and have at most one difference between it and the word banana. Searching for b%%anana will match words that start with b and have at most two differences between it and the word banana.

# - phonetic search

Phonic searching looks for a word that sounds like the search word and begins with the same letter. Note that phonic searching is slower than a regular search and tends to produce a high number of search hits, so it is usually a good idea to selectively use this option.

Insert the character # in front of the word you would like to search phonetically.

Example: #Smith will match Smith,  Smithe, and Smythe.

~ - word stemming

With word stemming enabled, Index Manager searches for morphological varieties of words, for example, different verb tenses or noun plurals. Stemming lists are stored on the Index Manager server.

Insert the character ~ after the word that you would like stemming to work for.

Exampleapply~ will match applying, applies, and applied.

| - synonym search

By setting up a thesaurus on the Index Manager server and enabling synonym searching in FotoStation, Index Manager will return hits containing synonyms to the specified search words.

Using a synonym search: Insert the pipe character (|) after the word you want to search for synonyms.

Examplefast| will match quick, assuming that quick has been defined as a synonym for fast.

~~ - numeric range search

Example: (summer 2000~~2006) will return files that contain the phrases summer 2000, summer 2001, and so on up to summer 2006.

See the paragraphs below for examples of how to search for ranges in date fields, for example.

Using numeric searches to search for specific dates

If you want to create a search for yesterday's pictures in FotoStation, for example, you can create an auto search on the archive with the following string:

(FQYFD contains (%%INSDATE-1))

This way, you can use + and - in combination with a number to add to or subtract from a numeric search.

Specifiers for field-specific searches

The specifiers below refer to file properties that fall outside the scope of the metadata configuration but you can refer to them directly using special codes.

Field name Specifier Data Format
Metadata Field IPTCxxx xxx is the metadata field number. Ex: 005 for Object Name.
Image Color FQYIC BW, RGB or CMYK
File Type FQYFT JPEG, TIFF etc. See a list of available FourCC codes.
Image Resolution FQYIR Always in pixel / cm
Image width FQYIW Always in cm
Image height FQYIH Always in cm
Pixel width FQYPW  
Pixel height FQYPH  
File size FQYFS In Kbytes  (1Kb = 1024 bytes)
Image size FQYIS In Kbytes (1Kb = 1024 bytes)
File name FQYFN  
Folder name FQYFLN  
Full path FQYFP  
Offline status FQYOL ONLINE or OFFLINE

Example syntax: (FQYFLN contains (holiday))

This will find files located in folders with the word holiday in the folder name.

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