I do it. And I’m sure you do it too. We get into a habit of only using the search tools that we’ve always used. You might use Google, I use Bing…but, did you ever wonder if there were other ways to search for AX-specific information? Wonder no longer. Listed below are a few of the additional tools or methods that you can use to search for all things AX.
If you’ve been around the AX world for a while, I would hope that you already know about this fantastic tool. WebSearchAX gives you advanced search capabilities specific to AX. Use this tool to search for TechNet and MSDN topics, code examples, white papers, and blog entries related to AX. You can filter your search results by user role, AX version, AX module, and even by language.
Did you know that Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services has built-in search functionality that lets you search for hotfixes, KB articles, regulatory features, and workarounds for reported issues in AX? Read more about it in the following TechNet topic: ttp://technet.microsoft.com/EN-US/library/dn268610.aspx.
Searching within TechNet and MSDN topics
So, you found the topic that you want on TechNet or MSDN, but what if that topic is super long? Most browsers have a “find on page” feature that lets you search for words or phrases on a web page. In Internet Explorer, use the CTRL+F shortcut key to open the Find” toolbar. You can enter a search term in this toolbar when you’re viewing a TechNet or MSDN topic to locate a specific word or phrase in that topic.
Microsoft Dynamics Community search
When you initially search the Microsoft Dynamics Community site, you get a results list that is not filtered. You can narrow your search results down by using the built-in site filters on the left side of the search results list. You can filter by type of content (Forums, logs, Comments, Files, Users, etc.) and you can filter by product, author, or tags. I suggest that you always filter your results to show only the Microsoft Dynamics AX product.
Listed below are my favorite search string “tricks” that I use to help narrow down my search results in standard search engines.
- OR, NOT
You can use OR and NOT in your search string to help you get better results. For example, to search for information about AX 2012, but not AX 2009, you would enter the following search string: AX 2012 NOT 2009. To search for organizational hierarchy or organization structure in AX 2012, you would enter the following search string: AX 2012 organization hierarchy OR AX 2012 organization structure.
To search for an exact phrase, put quotation marks around your search string. Without quotation marks, when you enter a complete sentence or phrase as a search string, most search engines will ignore articles such as “the” and “and”.
When I’m searching for an image or diagram, I get frustrated when small, unreadable thumbnails are returned in my image search results. To fix this, I search for images that are larger than 200 pixels by adding imagesize:large to the end of my search string. For example: AX 2012 imagesize:large or Organizational hierarchy imagesize:large.
If you are trying to find a topic on a specific site, you can add site:[site URL] to the end of your search string. For example, to find a topic about AX shortcut keys that you know is published on TechNet, you would enter the following search string: AX shortcut keys site:technet.microsoft.com.
- The wildcard
For when you remember bits and pieces of a topic title, or a half sentence from a web page that you want to find again, you can use the asterisk (*) symbol as a wildcard in the search string. For example, I vaguely remember seeing a topic with a title that entioned configuring features in AX. To find this topic, I’d enter the following search string: Configure * features AX 2012.
Most common search engines publish a complete list of advanced search string syntax that users can use to enhance their search experience. Bing’s Advanced Operator Reference is published here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff795620.aspx (Click the topic link and then refer to the Table of Contents pane on the left side of MSDN to see the entire list of operators).
How do you search for AX-specific information?
Are you a search expert? Or, do you have a unique way to find the AX information that you need? If so, please share your AX search tips with the community by commenting on this post and sharing what you know.