Microsoft KB Archive/41344

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Knowledge Base Search Hints for GEnie Subscribers PSS ID Number: Q41344 Article last modified on 05-22-1991 PSS database name: OnLine

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This article outlines ways to improve the efficiency of Microsoft OnLine Knowledge Base queries. It explains how to limit searches to a single product, a range of dates, and a particular buglist or fixlist. This article also contains a list of all products for which information is available, including both full product names and keyword mnemonics.

More Information:

Queries used to search the Knowledge Base consist of phrases or clauses that are combined with the following operators:


A phrase or clause is composed of one or more words, which also can be combined using parentheses, range indicators, and segment operators.

With the exception of more common (noise) words such as “the”, “all”, “between”, etc., all words in each article are indexed. For such words as “word”, indexing includes occurrences of the product “Microsoft Word”, as well as standard usage of the word “word”.

Searches begin with the left-most phrase in a query, then work to the right, selecting from the matching articles returned by the previous phrase. “Too many matches” often indicates too many articles returned by phrases placed early in the query. Rearranging the order of phrases frequently corrects this problem. For example, the following query returns “Too many matches”:

(c and win*) and codeview not title(pr)

Changing the order of the query phrases as follows returns a manageable number of documents:

codeview not title(pr) and (c and win*)

Segment Operators

PROD is used to specify a particular product, regardless of operating environment. For example, “prod(quickbas)” limits documents to those pertaining to the product QuickBASIC.

The syntax is as follows, where <mnemonic> is a product-name mnemonic from the list below:


The following is an example that selects all articles about the product QuickBASIC:


List of PROD Segment Mnemonics Used in Knowledge Base Articles

The following lists the product-name mnemonics used in Knowledge Base articles for use with the PROD segment operator. Please note that none of these mnemonics exceeds eight characters in length:

Mac Daisy Link DAISYLNK SuperPaint SUPERPNT Microsoft Ballpoint Mouse H.BP Microsoft BASIC Compiler BASICCOM Microsoft BASIC Interpreter BASICINT Microsoft Bookshelf BOOKSHLF Microsoft Business BASIC BBASIC Microsoft C Compiler C Microsoft Chart CHART Microsoft COBOL Compiler COBOL Microsoft COBOL Tools COBTOOLS Microsoft CodeView Debugger CODEVIEW Microsoft Edit EDIT Microsoft Editor EDITOR Microsoft Excel EXCEL Microsoft EXEMOD, EXEPACK, or LIB UTILITY Microsoft Extended Memory Specification XMS Microsoft File FILE Microsoft Flight Simulator FLTSIM Microsoft FORTRAN Compiler FORTRAN Microsoft GW-BASIC Interpreter GWBASICI Microsoft Learning MS-DOS LEARNDOS Microsoft LINK Utility LINK Microsoft Library MSLIB Microsoft MACH 10 MACH10 Microsoft MACH 20 MACH20 Microsoft Mail MAIL Microsoft MAKE Utility MAKE Microsoft Macro Assembler MASM Microsoft Mouse MOUSE Microsoft Mouse Driver Programming DRIVERPR Microsoft Mouse EasyCad EASYCAD Microsoft Mouse Menu Programming MENUPR Microsoft Mouse MS Paintbrush MSPBRUSH Microsoft Mouse Prewritten Menus MPREMENU Microsoft Multiplan MPLAN Microsoft News Releases NEWS Microsoft Office for the Apple Macintosh OFFICE Microsoft OS/2 for the MACH 20 OS2M20 Microsoft OS/2 Programmer’s Toolkit OS2PRTK Microsoft Pascal Compiler PASCAL Microsoft PC/AppleTalk Mail PCMAIL Microsoft PowerPoint POWERPT Microsoft Programmer’s Library PROGLIB Microsoft Project PROJECT Microsoft Project for Windows WINPROJ Microsoft Product Support Information PSS Microsoft QuickBASIC Compiler QUICKBAS Microsoft QuickBASIC Compiler for the Macintosh MQUICKB Microsoft QuickC Compiler QUICKC Microsoft Quick Macro Assembler QASM Microsoft Quick Pascal Compiler QP Microsoft Small Business Consultant BUSICONS Microsoft SORT Utility SORT Microsoft Stat Pack STATPACK Microsoft SYMDEB Debugger SYMDEB Microsoft University MU Microsoft Windows/286 Retail Product WIN286 Microsoft Windows/386 Retail Product WIN386 Microsoft Windows 3.0 Retail Product WIN3 Microsoft Windows Calendar CALENDAR Microsoft Windows Cardfile CARDFILE Microsoft Windows Device Drivers DEVDRVRS Microsoft Windows Paintbrush WINPBR Microsoft Windows Paint PAINT Microsoft Q+E QE Microsoft Windows Terminal TERMINAL Microsoft Word WORD Microsoft Word for OS/2 OW Microsoft Word for Windows WINWORD Microsoft Works WORKS Microsoft Write WRITE

When searching for information on products that run in several environments (e.g. Multiplan, Chart, Excel, etc.), adding the product-name mnemonic and operating environment helps to reduce occurrences of the “Too many matches” error. For example, the following query returns articles on Macintosh Excel:

prod(excel) and macintosh

TITLE is used to narrow the search to the title of the document; “not title(pr)” excludes all documents that are press releases.

DATE is used to narrow the search to documents updated on a specific date or range of dates.

The syntax is as follows, where YYMMDD is a date with a two-digit year (YY), month (MM), and day (DD):

For a specific date: date(xYYMMDD) For a range of dates: date(xYYMMDD -to- xYYMMDD) For documents through current day: date(xYYMMDD -to- x999999)

For example, January 8, 1988, would be entered as follows:


The following is an example that returns all documents entered from November 21, 1987 to January 8, 1988, inclusive:

date(x871121 -to- x880108)

The following example returns all documents updated on April 26, 1989:


The following example returns all documents updated since November 4, 1988:

date(x881104 -to- x999999)

Version Numbers

Version numbers are carried out to the hundredths, e.g. C Compiler Version 5.10. When using version numbers to search for articles, the criteria should carry the version number out to the hundredth place or use a wild card, as in the following example:

c compiler and 5.10 windows and 2.*


BUGLIST is used to locate documents that have information about known problems with a given product.

The syntax is as follows, where x.xx is a version number, e.g. “5.10”, and <product> is a clause that includes the product name:

buglistx.xx and <product>

The following are examples:

buglist2.* and wind* and software development kit

buglist2.* and wind* and (software development kit or sdk)

buglist1.* and os/2 and (software development kit or sdk)

FIXLIST is used to locate documents that have information about known problems that have been corrected.

The syntax is as follows, where x.xx is a version number, e.g. “5.10”, and <product> is a clause that includes the product name:

fixlistx.xx and <product>

The following is an example:

fixlist2.* and (software development kit or sdk) and wind*

fixlist1.* and (software development kit or sdk) and os*

fixlist. and codeview

DOCERR is used to locate documents that contain information about known documentation errors.

The syntax is as follows, where x.xx is a version number, e.g. “5.10”, and <product> is a clause that includes the product-name mnemonic using the PROG segment operator:

docerr and x.xx and <product>

The following are examples:

docerr and prod(excel) and 2.* and (wind* or ms-dos)

docerr and ms-dos and prod(quickbas)

docerr and os* and prod(os2sdk)

Wild Cards

Wild cards are used to expand the number of matches from a given phrase.

The syntax is as follows, where "*" signifies the position to start the wild card, where any combination of letters will be found:


Spaces and punctuation marks end the wild-card string. The following example returns all documents on slow-boot windows:

(slowboot or slow boot) and win*

Syntax and Other Rules

Case is not important when entering search criteria; for example, “windows”, “WINDOWS”, “WINdows”, and “winDOWS” are the same in Knowledge Base searches.

Queries containing two or more clauses must have one operator (“AND”, “OR”, or “NOT”) between each pair of clauses.

A query cannot begin with an operator. For example, “NOT dot matrix printer” is illegal because it begins with the operator “NOT”.

Note: Quotation marks should not be entered.

Parentheses must be balanced, i.e., for every opening parenthesis, a matching closing parenthesis must also be in the query.

The term “not title(pr)” as the second or subsequent clause excludes press releases from any lists returned.

Copyright Microsoft Corporation 1991.