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Finding the File You're Seeking

Until now, it's been assumed that you know the name and location of the file you want to open. But that's not always the case. How often have you scratched your head and wondered, "Where did I put that file? What did I call it?" For those times, Word 2002 provides extraordinarily powerful Search features. These features are accessible in two separate ways.


In previous versions of Word, the feature that allowed you to search for files was called Find. It has been renamed Search to distinguish it from Word's Find and Replace features for locating text within an open document.

  • You can work in the Search dialog box. To get there, choose File, Open; then choose Search from the Tools menu.

  • You can use Word 2002's Search task pane. To get there, choose View, Task Pane; then click the down arrow and choose Search from the list of task panes.

Whichever approach you choose, Search works exactly the same. Both the dialog box and the task pane offer two approaches to searching:

  • Basic searching, designed to simplify searching for specific text.

  • Advanced searching, which allows you to create complex searches based on a broad range of criteria.

Both approaches to searching share common tools for specifying where to search and what types of documents to search for.

The following sections cover basic searches, introduce the common tools available in both basic and advanced searches, and show you how to make the most of advanced searches. But first, a word about Office XP's Fast Search capabilities.

Understanding Fast Search

If you have accumulated hundreds or thousands of documents, it can take Word a good deal of time to search them. To streamline the process, Word can build an index of the words in each document and search the index instead of the documents themselves. This is called Fast Searching.

Fast Searching is generally turned on by default. To check whether it is turned on, choose File, Search, or click the Search button on the Standard toolbar. The Basic Search side pane appears (see Figure 3.21).

Figure 3.21 The Basic Search side pane.


In early versions of Word, this feature was called Fast Find, and earned a poor reputation for reliability and for its impact on overall system performance. However, it works far more smoothly now, especially in Windows 2000 and XP environments.

To turn Fast Search on or off, click Search Options. The Indexing Service Settings dialog box appears. To turn on the indexing service that makes Fast Search work, click Yes, Enable Indexing Service and Run When My Computer Is Idle. To turn it off, click No, Do Not Enable Indexing Service. Click OK.

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