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Microsoft has made several enhancements to the Search feature of Office 2003. In earlier versions of Office, most programs have search features, such as Find and Replace. Office 2003 combines all the best sets of these features to create the new Search feature.
The Search feature in Office 2003 is a service that builds database catalogs of the Office files that are available on your computer's hard disk, in SharePoint Portal Server projects, and in SharePoint Web folders.
Search ArchitectureMost of the new enhancements of the Search feature incorporate fast searching and the Indexing Service. Fast searching builds off the Indexing Service of Office 2003 to create database catalogs of the Office files that are available on your computer's hard disk, in SharePoint Portal Server projects, and in SharePoint Web folders.
Microsoft built the Indexing Service feature from the Index Server technology of Microsoft Windows 2000 to create a better cataloging experience for fast searching and to offer the ability to search any Office file for information that the file contains. For example, you can search for a specific word or phrase from one Office document and use the Indexing Service to search for that information in any file that is listed in your fast-searching file catalog.
Note When the Indexing Service creates and updates the initial catalog, there may appear to be too much hard disk activity.
Office 2003 also uses a new search API to search fast-searching-cataloged local drives, SharePoint Portal Server projects spaces, and SharePoint Web folders. The API contains code that permits users to use the earlier Find Fast search capabilities to search any volumes that are not fast-searching-cataloged. This feature makes sure that the correct search capabilities are used when you add files to your local computer that are not yet cataloged with fast searching. You must also use Find Fast code when you search network shares or removable media because these locations are not cataloged with fast searching.
Note When you search SharePoint Portal Server projects, SharePoint Web folders, and network shares, you may receive incomplete search results if you do not have the correct access credentials to do a full search.
Basic Search Task PaneThe Office 2003 Search feature uses task pane technology in its user interface. The task pane offers several enhancements, such as providing more visual identification of files found.
User Interface ConsistencyBecause it uses the task pane, the Search feature looks the same in every Office program. Therefore, it is less difficult to learn how to use. As a result, it gives you a more productive work experience.
Running the Search Task PaneTo display the Basic Search task pane, on the File menu, click File Search.. By default, when you first install Office 2003 and use the Search feature, fast searching is turned off.
To use the fast searching capabilities of Office 2003, first verify that the Indexing Service is installed, and then turn on fast searching.
Search in Multiple ApplicationsThe Basic Search task pane, in correlation with the Indexing Service that is installed as part of Office 2003, also permits you to search for information in several programs at the same time.
For example, in Microsoft Office Word 2003, you can search for "Nostradamus." Instead of searching only the current document, the feature can search anywhere. This flexibility permits you to search any cataloged Office file for the information that you want.
The biggest improvement that Microsoft made to the Search feature involves the way that you view your search results. Your search results appear in the Search Results task pane.
The Search Results task pane replaces the Basic Search task pane as soon as you click Search or Go. The search results are cataloged by the locations of the found files. For example, all Outlook information is under the Outlook heading, and SharePoint Portal Server Projects are under the SharePoint Portal Server heading.
Search Results InformationIf you want more information about a file that you find in your search, you can put your mouse pointer over the document name in the Search Results task pane. A ToolTip appears that contains information about the text string that was found.
Search Results ActionsWhen you click to select a document or file in the Search Results task pane, an arrow appears on the right side of the item. To see the Action menu, point to this arrow with your mouse pointer.