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Eclipse Workbench User Guide
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Searching help

The help system includes a search engine that can run simple or complex queries on the documentation to help you find the information you are looking for.

To search help:

  1. From the main menu, select Help > Search
  2. Type in the word or phrase for which you want to search
  3. Click GO or press Enter. The list of results will be displayed below
  4. To view the content of a topic in the list of results, click on it

Alternatively, you can search from the Help window using the Search field at the top of the window.

Refining the search results in the help view

If the search yields too many results, the information you are looking for may not appear in the top 10 or 15 results. You can then refine the search to reduce the number of results.

To refine a search:

  1. Click the Search Scope link. to expand search scope section
  2. Click on the Advanced Settings link. The Search Scope preference dialog will open
  3. Select Local Help from the list
  4. Select the Search only the following topics button to narrow down the search scope
  5. In the working set content tree, select the topics to which you want to narrow the search
  6. Click OK to activate the changes and return to search page in the Help view
  7. Click GO again. The new list of results will appear

Changing the appearance of the results

Two buttons on the toolbar can be used to change the way results are displayed. The Show result categories Show result categories button, when pressed, will cause the results to be grouped by book. The Show result descriptions Show result descriptions button, when pressed, causes descriptions to show.

Highlighting Search Terms

By default, when a search result is selected, the search terms that were used to find the document will be highlighted. By using the Highlight Search Terms Highlight Search Terms toolbar button, you can toggle this feature on and off. This button is available in both the help window and the help view and each will remember the state of the button for displaying subsequent search results.

Query syntax

Follow the following search expression rules for searching local help content:

  • Unless otherwise stated, there is an implied AND between all search terms. In other words, topics that contain all the search terms will be returned. For example:
    Java project

    returns topics that contain the word Java and the word project, but does not return topics that contain only one of these words.

  • Use OR before optional terms . For example:
    applet OR application

    returns topics that contain the word applet or the word application (or both).

  • Use NOT before terms you want to exclude from search results. For example:
    servlet NOT ejb

    returns topics that contain the word servlet and do not contain the word ejb. Note: NOT only works as a binary operator (that is, "NOT servlet" is not a valid expression).

  • Use ? for a single-character wildcard and * for a multi-character wildcard. For example:

    returns topics that contain part or park, but not participate. On the other hand:


    returns topics that contain part, park, participate, pardon, and so on. Note: The search engine does not accept terms with a wild card at first character position.

  • Use double quotation marks around terms you want treated as a phrase. For example:
    "creating projects"

    returns topics that contain the entire phrase creating projects, and not creating or project on its own.

  • Punctuation acts as term delimiters. For example:

    returns hits on topics that contain plugin.xml, plugin, and xml, which is likely broader than you want. If you want to find just those topics containing plugin.xml, use double quotes, as in:

  • The search engine ignores character case. For example:

    returns topics that contain 'workbench', 'Workbench', 'WorkBench', and 'WORKBENCH'.

  • The following stop words are common English words which will be ignored (not searched for) if they appear in the search expression: a, and, are, as, at, be, but, by, in, into, is, it, no, not, of, on, or, s, such, t, that, the, their, then, there, these, they, to, was, will, with.
  • The search engine does "fuzzy" searches and word stemming. If you enter create, it will return hits on topics that contain creates, creating, creator, and so on. To prevent search engine from stemming terms, enclose them in double quotes.

Extending the search scope

If you cannot locate information in the local help, you can extend search scope to remote info-center or search engines.

To enable search engines:

  1. Click the Search Scope link. to expand search scope section. The list of search engine is displayed.
  2. Select the ones that contain information you are looking for.

In addition to search engines provided, you may define additional search engines.

To define a new search engine:

  1. Click the Search Scope link. to expand search scope section.
  2. Click the Advanced Settings link. Search Scope preference dialog opens.
  3. Click New.
  4. Select the search engine type.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Provide a name and a description
  7. Select engine specific settings and scope below. For the remote search engines, accessed using URL, fill in a full URL to query the engine. Use {expression} in the place of search expression.

Defining multiple search scopes

By default, changing search scope modifies the search scope named "default". You can define multiple search scope. They will be saved, allowing to quickly change search scope to one of them.

To define a new search scope:

  1. Click the current search scope name, beside the Search Scope link. .Search Scope Sets dialog appears.
  2. Click New.
  3. Type a name, and confirm.
  4. Select the newly created search scope.
  5. Click OK. The new search scope becomes current.

Changes to the search scope affect current search scope.

Search index generation

The first time you search the online help, the help system might initiate an index-generation process. This process builds the indexes for the search engine to use. It may take several minutes, depending on the amount of documentation and whether prebuilt indexes are installed. Results of the search will be available upon completion of the indexing process.

Each time you add or modify the documentation set (for example, when you install a new feature or update an existing one), the index will be updated to reflect the new information set.

Related concepts
Help view

Related tasks
Navigating help topics

  Published under the terms of the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0 ("EPL") Design by Interspire