Content Queries

[Indexing Service is no longer supported as of Windows XP and is unavailable for use as of Windows 8. Instead, use Windows Search for client side search and Microsoft Search Server Express for server side search.]

Content queries search text-type properties of documents. Content queries process the textual content of a sequence of words in one of two ways. A series of words such as "Web server administrator" can be treated as a phrase, where the proximity of words and the word order is significant (no intervening words, and words must appear in a specific order). Alternatively, the words can be treated independently, ignoring the order and proximity of the words.

To handle both cases, phrase and non-phrase (free-text) interpretation of textual content, Dialect 2 has two modes for content queries: phrase and freetext. It uses the two following text interpretation tags.

{phrase} text {/phrase}
{freetext} text {/freetext}

The {phrase} tag specifies the use of the phrase mode, and the text within the tags is considered to be a single entity. The search engine treats the word sequence and position as significant. The {freetext} tag specifies the use of free-text mode, where the word sequence and position are insignificant, and which includes word stemming. The {phrase} and {freetext} tags are mutually exclusive and cannot be embedded or nested. The default mode of Dialect 2, if no tag is used, is free-text mode. (In Dialect 1, the default mode is phrase mode.) To indicate free-text mode in the short form, either leave off any enclosing quote marks around the text or use the dollar sign ($) with the Contents property.

The following table summarizes the text modes and their long and short forms.

Text Mode Long Form Short Form
{phrase} text {/phrase}
" text "
{freetext} text {/freetext}
$contents text


The following table illustrates examples of the use of text modes in content queries.

To Search For Example Results
Documents that match a phrase.
{phrase} big red truck {/phrase}
"big red truck"
Documents that contain the phrase big red truck.
Documents that match terms.
{freetext} Why is the sky blue? {/freetext}
Why is the sky blue?
$contents Why is the sky blue?
Documents about the blue sky, ranked by estimated relevance.


In Dialect 2, the query

@contents Why is the sky blue?

without quotes around the text is a phrase-mode query equivalent to

@contents "Why is the sky blue?"