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Documentation & User Guides | Fotoware

Creating search queries for Index Manager using FotoStation

With FotoStation connected to Index Manager, you can perform very advanced searches. The following options are available.

Note: FotoStation search syntax is very different from that of FotoWeb. For information about the search syntax in FotoWeb, see Searching for assets topic. The API and taxonomy search syntax topic may also prove useful.

Extra search functionality with Index Manager

When creating custom search strings in a Fotoware client application or using the Archive Agent, you can also insert logical operators directly into the search field. This gives you more control over the search and makes the search more specific. Make sure you choose where the search should be performed (in all metadata fields or a specific field) when entering the advanced search directly in the search text field.

Tip: If you have not already configured an archive that connects to an Index Manager index, you must do so first. For information, see How to connect to an Index Manager or FotoWeb archive.

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 2023

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 2023) 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 2023

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 AND NOT pears)

The word apples and not the word 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 unclear 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 being about 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 named John Smith in the Byline field and where both the words snow and winter occur in the Caption field (no. 120).

Note: Searches are not case sensitive.

Using wildcards when searching

When you are 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, etc.

% - fuzzy search

Fuzzy searching will find a word even if it is misspelled. For example, using fuzzy searching to find misspelled words in the caption field 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 make selective use of this option.

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

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

~ - word stemming

With word stemming enabled, Index Manager searches for morphological variations of words, such as 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 for which you would like to search for synonyms.

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

~~ - numeric range search

Example: (summer 2018~~2023) will return files that contain the phrases summer 2018, summer 2019, and so on up to summer 2023.

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.

Searching within a numeric range, such as a date range

Use double tilde characters (~~) in the search string to search within a range.

This can be used to search within a range of dates (either the date fields included in the standard XMP specification or custom-made date fields), which are converted into the format YYYYMMDD.

For example, to search for files with a release date between Jan 1 2023 and Dec 31 2023, use the following search string:

(FQYRD contains (20230101~~20231231))

The FQYRD specifier is used to search in the Release date field. 


Additional dynamic content that can be inserted in queries

You can also use other specifiers to refer to special fields and insert dynamic content in your search queries. 

Advanced Search example: You are searching for a picture from a holiday in 2023. You know the pictures are stored in C:\my pictures\holiday pictures\summer 2023. In this case, you could search for summer 2023 in the folder name or simply 2023 in full path – both searches would retrieve the picture in question.

Other ways to locate files

On the left-hand side of the Quick Search field, you find the icon for data mining which includes the Word list and the Calendar. For more information about how to use these two functions, see Data Mining.

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