Advanced usage guidelines for searching the file database

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With the updates made to the search functionality of the Nexus sites in March 2013 comes the ability to use some special characters and operators within your keywords for the file name field to help refine your search results more. This short article explains, with examples, the function of these operators and how they might benefit you while using the search feature of the site.

How the file name keywords work

The search algorithm works by seperating every word into seperate keywords and doing a LIKE comparison on each individual word. For example if you type in Midas Magic then the search algorithm considers Midas and Magic two seperate words and will search for files with both Midas and Magic in their name. It's important to note that the spaces are not counted in the keyword so if you search for idas agic then the search results will likely be the same.

Keywords are not case-sensitive so you do not need to worry about capitals.

If you do not use any special characters then the search algorithm will search for all the keywords in a filename in a string of AND's. So Midas Magic Spells will search for all file names with words that contain Midas AND Magic AND Spells in them. If a file contains Midas AND Magic but not Spells then it will not be shown.

Special characters

There are currently three special characters that you can place in your search term to refine your search results:

  • The " character acts as a grouping for search terms, wrapped around two or more words
  • The - character acts as a NOT LIKE keyword
  • The ~ character acts as a OR keyword

Grouping examples

By placing multiple words in quote tags, e.g. "Solstheim Island", those terms will be grouped together to ensure the results only show files that have Solstheim Island written together. This is different to searching for Solstheim Island without the quotes. The search with the quotes will only find mods that have Solstheim Island written together in the title, so it would find a mod called Solstheim Island revamp but it would not find a mod called New island close to Solstheim. A search for Solstheim Island without quotes would find both mods.

NOT LIKE examples

By placing the - character in front of keywords it acts as a NOT LIKE word, i.e. the search will discard any results that contain that word in them.

If I currently search the database for files with Midas Magic in the file name then I receive 6 results. 3 of these results are compatibility files for other modifications that contain for in the file name and I am not interested in these. To discard these results I am not interested in I can enter Midas Magic -for into the file name search field. Now only 3 results show and none of them contain the word for in them.

If I'm interested in mods for mages but do not want any mage robes then I can search for mage -robe to remove any files with robe in the name.

OR examples

By placing the pipe symbol | or the word OR in front of keywords it acts as an OR word, i.e. the search will look for files with one word OR another, rather than AND.

If I search the file database for files with weapon in the name I receive 192 results. If I search the database for files with armour in the name I receive 111 results. If I search the database for weapon OR armour then I receive both sets of results in one. The result discrepancy comes from the fact some of the files have both armour and weapon in their file name.

If I am interested in some ninja gear but want to broaden my search I might like to expand into areas that are similar. If I search for ninja I'll only get 16 results but if I search for ninja OR stealth OR samurai OR assassin then I'll get close to 100 results.