Creating a new search

When youʼre viewing records in a data list, most of the time youʼll be able to find the ones you need for any particular task by selecting a search from the Quick Search field at the top of the list. Occasionally, though, none of these saved search patterns will find exactly what youʼre looking for. In this event, you can create a new, custom search based on specific fields in the data record. Once youʼve created the search, you can save it and add it to Managerʼs list of searches, making it accessible either to others or only to you.

You tell the system exactly what information you want to retrieve by entering choices in a Search dialog. To use the Search function effectively, you should know the rules for searching, and the techniques for limiting the search to find exactly the records youʼre looking for.

You can return to this Help topic at any time by clicking “On searching” at the top of the Help viewer window.

To create a new search:

  1. On the data access bar at the left-hand side of the Manager window, click the icon for the table you want to search (or choose the corresponding item from the File menu). Manager displays a data list that contains the results of the last search you made in this table.

  2. Click the Open Search button on the Manager tool bar (or choose Search from the Search menu or the right-click menu).

  3. (If your Λctiv8 Manager preferences are set to “Launch Search,” instead of the data list youʼll see a new Search dialog immediately.)

  4. In the Search dialog, enter values in one or more fields to limit the search. (As in most Windows applications, you can undo the most recent typing change you made with the command Ctrl-Z.) Use wild cards and numeric operators to save time and typing (see Limiting the search). You can also select a previously saved search from the drop-down list at the top of the dialog and change its settings as needed.

  5. In the Search dialog, Manager remembers the values you entered for your last query. To remove the current values from all tabs and reset, click Clear.

    Note that most Search dialogs contain a number of tabs where you can enter values to make the query as specific as possible. The individual fields are generally the same as those found in the corresponding data entry dialog.

    If a search doesnʼt return entries that it should, check to be sure that other tabs donʼt contain values left from previous queries. Itʼs a good idea to click Clear before starting any new search.

  6. Click Search. Manager searches the database for the items you requested, and returns the matching records as usual in the data list.

If the search returns too many records and takes a long time to finish, you can stop it by clicking the Stop Search icon on the tool bar. To modify the search so that it returns less unneeded data, see Rules for searching and Limiting the search below.

Rules for searching

The following rules will help you make efficient database searches:

Limiting the search

Many of the database tables are very large, so that retrieving all the records in them would take a long time and provide too much information to be useful. To limit the search to only the records you want to see, itʼs a good idea to enter at least some search criteria in the Search dialog before you click Search.

Of course, in any field in the Search dialog, you can simply enter the exact value youʼre looking for—for example, if youʼre looking for customers who live in California, you can enter 'CA' in the State field. However, very often youʼll want to search for a range of records, or you may not be sure of the exact value youʼre looking for. Manager provides two powerful ways to handle these situations: wild cards and numeric operators.

Wild cards

A wild card is a single character that stands for one unspecified character, or a string of them. Two wild card characters are available for use in Manager: % and _.


date drop list

In search fields that contain dates, you can enter a specific date in the format defined on your local computer (in the U.S., usually '9/27/2012'). Usually, though, youʼll be looking for a defined range of dates, like “this year” or “the past 90 days.” The easiest way to specify such a range is to select it from the drop-down list in the date field.

These predefined ranges are especially useful when youʼre creating reusable saved searches, as 'Past 15 Days,' for example, will always refer to the past two weeks, no matter what todayʼs date is.

Date search Ctrl‑D is a keyboard shortcut for 'Today.' To enter a range of dates thatʼs not defined in the list, you can use the symbols that work for number ranges, like < and >. (For example, “>= 12/10/2012” locates all dates on or after 10 December 2012.)

Searching for a range of datesWhen the Search dialog displays two date fields separated by 'And', you can enter an inclusive range of dates as shown here.

Ranges of numbers

When entering search values in fields that contain numeric data, youʼll often need to search for records matching a range of values. In this case, you can use any of the following symbols:


greater than


less than


greater than or equal to


less than or equal to


equal to


not equal to.

For example, to find inventory items of which you have 50 or more on hand, enter '>=50' in the On Hand field of the Search Inventory dialog.

Null values

In date, time, datetime, and text fields, you can enter the word 'NULL' to search for records in which the field is empty; i.e., contains no value at all. This technique is useful when searching for records that are missing a field that should be filled in. For example, to find the records of people with no last name, you can search the Customer list for:

First Name = '%'
Last Name = 'NULL'

Similarly, enter the value 'NOT NULL' to find records in which the field is not empty.

Related topics:

Finding data records

Creating a new search

Saving a search