Finding Documents

VisualVault has the capability of searching through the Document Library and retrieving documents based upon your search criteria. VisualVault can search through all document metadata and through the text within the electronic files.  Documents that have not been indexed yet will not be searchable when doing a full text search.

See the following topics to learn more about searching capabilities of VisualVault:

Types of Searches

Quick Search

The quick search is a fast search using preset metadata items across the entire document library or folders specified through saved searches. The quick search is available from every VisualVault screen, located in the upper right hand corner.  You access Quick Search by highlighting the Search magnifying glass.  Then select document search and key in your search criteria.  

Quick Search View

VisualVault will return the search results by querying the following attributes by default:

  • Document ID

  • Folder Path

  • Keywords

  • Filename

  • Description

  • Full Text

The attributes that the Quick Search uses by default can be configured in the Control Panel and Settings so that the search is on fewer items. You can also use the Quick Search in conjunction with the Saved Search drop down list to search on items in relation to the Saved Search. Specifically, the quick search will search the configured metadata on the folders specified in the Saved Search. The conditions specified in the Saved Search will not be considered for the Quick Search.

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search is a search tool to help you find specific documents. It also gives you the ability to save the search for later use, or to publish the search to other VisualVault users by way of the security model.

Advanced Search View

On the Advanced Search view there are several features that are common to the Document Library. On the left hand side of the screen you have a tree view of the Document Library folder tree structure. Users will see only folders where they have access. If users check the root of the Document Library, all folders and subfolders will be checked and searched. If a user removes the check mark for any branch, all subfolders of that branch will have the check marks removed. By checking the folders you are in essence setting up the scope for which files should be searched.

On the right hand side of the screen is the detail pane showing search criteria and results. There are three menu buttons at the top of the screen. The functionality for each button is as follows:

  • Search - Show or hide the search criteria.

  • Show Archived/Active Documents - show documents that with an active or archived status.

  • Search Options - Load, Save and Modify Saved Searches.

  • Actions - Download, Archive or Delete selected documents.

To conduct an Advanced Search proceed as follows:

  1. Select Search icon at the top right hand area of the screen.

  2. Select Advanced Search.

  3. Select the folder(s) you want to search.

  4. Define your Search Criteria: select a field from the pull down menu, select a condition from the pull down menu and enter the text to search.

  5. To add multiple criteria select the Add Rows function located below the Search Criteria box, select whether it's an "And" or "Or" criteria and then repeat adding appropriate rows of criteria.

  6. After you've completed defining your criteria, select the Search button.

Your search results will be displayed. If the search results do not provide the expected results, you can modify the search from the top of the Advanced Search results grid.

If you want a listing of all documents in a given branch of the folder tree, select the base of the branch. All documents (up to the Max Rowcount) in that branch will be listed when no criteria is specified.

Advanced Concepts

Some document searches may require a more complex combination of criteria. In order to search for documents in this scenario, you will want to understand the following concepts and ideas.

Advanced Search Criteria View

The Show drop down list at the top of the screen allows you to switch between Active and Archive type documents. This allows you to search through documents that pertain to either status. The Fields list (Shown on the left) will contain all common fields. VisualVault will enumerate the index fields from all the folders selected and display them in this drop down screen. The items above the dashed line are default metadata items that are searchable for every document. Items below the dashed line are custom index fields that become searchable.

Notice the Full Text field in the Fields drop down list. To conduct a search for strings of information inside any document within the search scope use this field. For more details see the Full Text Search section.

When selecting an Index field below the dashed line the search criteria field will change so that you can determine the list of possible items to search for in the search scope. Selecting the Show All link will query and give the user a drop down list of all possibilities. The user can also key in a string text that they think should be in the index field and select search. Items that are like the string of text will then show up in the drop down list.

You may increase the complexity of the search by adding multiple condition rows and setting the search criteria for those rows. You can create complex granular searches by placing the parenthesis around the groups of criteria that should be true. You can also use the * as a wildcard to search for items like *tech*.

As an example, let's say that we want to search for documents that are purchase orders from Timely Consulting as well as Quotes from the same organization. In the search we do not want to bring in other documents from Timely Consulting such as hourly reporting. For this example, all purchase orders have a document ID beginning with "PUR", while all quotes have document ID's beginning with "QUO", due to the configured document naming conventions. Additionally, there is a required index field called "CustomerName" that provides an area for users to enter in the associated customer to any document uploaded to the folders that have this index field.

 In this scenario, we could configure the search to look like the following image. The first condition in blue will bring together documents that are from Timely Consulting. The second grouping in red will bring in documents that have document ID's beginning with "PUR", or document ID's beginning with "QUO". These two sets of conditions are joined by the "AND" so that documents that meet both conditions are returned in the search, therefore only returning documents that are related to Timely Consulting and are either purchase orders or quotes.

Grouping Search View

Full Text Search

Full Text searches search for text within documents by indexing all words present in the document and then associating the words to the document. The quality of search results is based upon the quality of the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) that occurred when creating the electronic file. In other words, clear scans of neat, unmarked documents may be indexed better than fuzzy images or documents with stains or blotches, due to the OCR being able to read everything clearly. 

Indexing attempts to index all words associated with all documents loaded into the Document Library. From our experience the application will now index over 130 different document types as long as they are not password protected, images, or corrupted in any way. Once the documents are indexed they become searchable through the Full Text search.  The Full Text Search function can be accessed by setting the search criteria to Full Text in Advanced Search or when searching on a specific folder. Items such as image only PDFs, jpg or image type files are not full text searchable.

The search can use words, phrases, or strings of characters surrounded by a wildcard like *. Common words such as "a", "the", "if" & "and" are ignored.  Strings of characters that are only 2 characters are also not indexed.  Search will retrieve documents fastest when searches are based upon full words. 

Document list entries will contain the  symbol when the associated document still needs to be indexed, meaning the document is new to the system or its data has recently changed. In this state, the document will not be Full Text searchable until it has been indexed.

Saved Searches

Saved Searches are searches that have been previously executed and saved to be reused with the exact criteria as the previous search.  Anyone can create a saved search.  Once a saved search is created it can be shared with other users.  Other users can also modify and update a saved search if they are given permissions to do so.

The permissions for a saved search are as follows:





View Reports and Searches




Edit Reports and Searches



Set Security Rights


All owners cannot be removed from a saved search. There must always be at least one owner to a saved search.

Saved Searches can also be used in conjunction with a Quick Search.  Basically when a saved search is selected using Quick Search, the search criteria of the saved search is replaced with the text keyed into the Quick Search field.

When a Saved Search is deleted by an owner, it is deleted for all other users.

Creating a Saved Search

To create a saved search, complete the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the Advanced Search page.

  2. Select the folders to perform the search on.
  3. Enter in the criteria of the search.
  4. Click the Search Options button and select Save Search.
  5. Enter in a name for the saved search.
  6. Click the Save As New Search button.

Deleting a Saved Search

Only Owners can delete Saved Searches. When a Saved Search is deleted it will be removed from the availability of all users who had access to the search.

To delete a Saved Search, complete the following steps:

  1. Highlight over the User ID in the upper right hand corner.

  2. Select the Searches option.

  3. Select the checkbox next to the search you wish to delete.

  4. Select the delete button.

Note: You will not be prompted to confirm the deletion.

Publishing a Saved Search

Publishing a Saved Search in essence is the act of giving another user permissions to see or change your saved search.  As the owner of the saved search, complete the following steps:

  1. Highlight over your User ID in the upper right hand corner.

  2. Select the Searches Menu Item.

  3. Select the Modify link for the desired saved search.

  4. Select Modify Security Button.

  5. Select Users or Groups from the Left Hand pane and assign Owner, Editor, or Viewer rights for the search.

  6. Close the security screen.


Search buttons are placed on almost every screen in VisualVault to aid you in narrowing and searching for information you need quickly. The search supports specific columns or data that are found on that screen and may include other data not shown directly on the screen in some circumstances. To filter the records shown on the data pane do the following:

  1. Select the Search button (  )

  2. Select the data you want to search on.

  3. Select the type of condition or matching criteria for the search.

  4. Key in the text for the search.

  5. Click on Search.

If the results were not what you expected, you can select clear to show all the information. Select the Add Rows icon () to increase the complexity of your search and narrow the results even further. To remove complexity, remove criteria by selecting the Remove Rows button ().The search will compare every character keyed in the text field. If a space is on the end of the text string the search will expect a space to match the criteria. By selecting the clear button, the criteria will all be cleared and the results will be reset to show all results. Users may group the search criteria by enclosing the criteria in parenthesis. By using the parenthesis, you can find documents or data that meet multiple types of criteria.

Search will remember how you filtered a screen during the current session that you are logged into VisualVault. Once you have logged off or navigated to a similar page, this information will be lost. Most searches look like the generic search below.

Generic Search View

Other searches may have greater complexity due to where they are placed in VisualVault. An example of a filter with greater complexity is the one used with the Document Library. Notice actions button is shown to the right of the Search in the toolbar. Additional filter fields may be in the filter to aid in showing or hiding records. Other areas where you will find special filters similar to this one will be in Projects to show open or closed projects. For every filter you can add additional criteria. You can use the and fields to group search criteria together to make more complex searches. One group below is circled in red while the other is circled in blue.

Document Library Filter View

In various document searches there will be an option called Full Text. This option will allow you to search for text inside of various document types as explained in the Full Text Search section. VisualVault will default back to the contains condition when Full Text is selected. The search will execute for the scope of the filter.

If you are searching for folder paths, slashes may be required when used with an equal condition. For example if the folder named Documents is at the root of the Document Library, set the Folder path equal to /Documents.