Searching in reports

When viewing a report, you can search for specific data within the report. With the search feature you can do the following:

Identifying a searchable report field

To locate searchable fields, choose Search on the toolbar, then move your cursor over fields in the report. If the cursor over a field turns into a hand icon and the word Searchable! appears, you can search on that field.

Searching for report data

To search for specific report data, you select one or more report fields to search, and specify the value to search for each selected field. Searching on one field is straightforward. When searching on multiple fields, however, it helps to understand the effect of selecting multiple fields for a search. Sometimes, it also helps to understand the structure of the report.

Understanding how a multifield search works

In a multifield search, each field you add to the search condition adds an And logical operation. For example, if you select three fields and specify values for each, the search condition, in effect, is condition1 And condition2 And condition3. There is a match only if all conditions are true.

The fields you select for a search must relate to each other. (This is where it helps to understand the structure of a report.) As you add each field to the search list, the Actuate Basic search feature analyzes the relationships among the fields. If a field does not match a supported relationship, the Actuate Basic search feature displays an error message. The Actuate Basic search feature supports one-to-one and one-to-many relationships among fields.

Here is another way to look at this relationship concept: For a successful search, you can add any fields that are contained within a selected parent field. For example, if a report lists all sales representatives by region, the parent field is the region, and the child field is the sales representative. In this scenario, you can create a search that finds the Western region (region field = Western) and sales representatives whose last names start with T (sales rep = T*). You can apply this parent-child principle when creating a search condition no matter how many hierarchical levels the report contains.

The best way to see the structure of a report is to view its table of contents, if one exists. To do so, choose TOC from the toolbar. If the report has a hierarchical structure, you can view the table of contents with sections collapsed or expanded, depending on the level of detail you want to see.

Creating search conditions

You create search conditions through the search pane. You can modify your search conditions (remove fields, change field values) or cancel a search any time before you execute the search process.

How to create search conditions

The following steps assume you already have a report open for viewing.

  1. Choose Search from the toolbar. The search pane appears to the left of the report window.
  2. Specify the field to search by choosing a searchable report field from the report in the right pane. The field name appears in the Report Field column in the search pane.
  3. Specify the value to search. You can specify a literal value, or a search expression that contains operators and wildcard characters. If you leave the field value blank, the search feature finds and returns all values for the field.
  4. Check the Display option if you want to display the field results in the search results pane.
  5. To search multiple fields, repeat steps 2 to 4.

Choose Search Now to start the search process. The search results appear in the search pane. In each column, the data appears in the order in which it appears in the report. The order in which the columns appear can be different from the order in which you choose the report fields.

How to modify search conditions

You can change your search conditions any time before you choose Search Now, which starts the search process.

  1. To remove a field from the search, choose the X button next to the Display checkbox.
  2. To remove all the fields from the search, choose New Search.
  3. To stop searching altogether, choose the X option at the top of the search pane. This closes the search pane.

Using a search expression in the search conditions

When you specify the value to search for in a report field, you can specify a literal value, such as Leslie Thompson, to search for one match. Typically, though, you specify a search expression to find a set of matches. For example, you can specify the expression, "*Thompson" to find all names that end with Thompson.

The search expressions support several operators and wildcard characters. You can create complex expressions that use a combination of operators and wildcard characters.

Using operators in a search expression

Table 1 lists and describes the operators you can use in search expressions specified in the Value column in the search window.

Table 1 Search expression operators 






Equals. By default, the = operator is implied.


MR 1500




Greater than or alphabetically after



101, 115, 200

Acer, Adobe


Less than or alphabetically before



10, 50, 99

Aamco, Abel


Greater than or equal to



100, 101, 200

Ace, Adobe


Less than or equal to



10, 50, 100

Ace, Aamco


Range. Hyphen separates upper and lower limits of the range.

For strings, - can mean the following:

  • b- is equivalent to >=b
  • -b is equivalent to <=b
  • - is equivalent to * (match all values)

10 - 20

A - C



10, 15, 20

Ace, Bell, Core

Ace, Aamco

Ace, Adobe


Or. Comma separates two values.



1, 2

Ace, Ford





998, 999, 1001


Using a wildcard character in a search expression

Use wildcard characters to do pattern matching on text objects. Table 2 lists and describes the wildcard characters you can use in search expressions specified in the Value column in the search window.

Table 2 Wildcard characters 






Find any one character


MR1680, MS1680


Find any number of characters


3M A1000,
3M B2000


Find any one ASCII numeric character (0 - 9)


MS0490, MS3290

Using a pattern in a search expression

Use patterns in a search expression to qualify a search. Patterns let you search for characters in a range, or select only certain characters for searching. Use the brackets ([ ]) to place a pattern inside a search expression.

Table 3 lists and describes examples of patterns you can use.

Table 3 Pattern examples 





[character list]

Match any one character inside the brackets


MP16, MR16, MS16


Match any lowercase character


ma1800, mc1800


Match any ASCII numeric character


MX1502, MX1503, MX1505


Match any lowercase character and ASCII numeric character


ma1, ma3, mb2, mc3


Match any character or hyphen


ma, mb, m-


Match one caret


a^1650, b^1650

Searching for the ?, *, #, and [ ] characters

Because the characters ?, *, #, and [ ] have special meanings in search expressions, you must indicate when you want to search for the characters themselves. To search for a special character itself, you can do one of the following:

Table 4 lists and describes examples of how to search for special characters.

Table 4 Searching for special characters 





[?] or "\?"

Match one question mark




[#] or "\#"

Match one pound sign




[*] or "\*"

Match one asterisk

M[*] 1600



[[] or "\["

Match one open bracket




[]] or "\]"

Match one close bracket





Match any ASCII character between [ and ]




Searching for a string that contains a special character

If a search text string contains one or more special characters, you must type a backslash (\) before each special character and enclose the string in quotation marks. Special characters include characters that are operators in a search expression:

For example, the string:

16M x 1 Dynamic Ram, 3.3 volts

must contain a backslash (\) before the comma and the string must be enclosed in quotation marks:

"16M x 1 Dynamic Ram\, 3.3 volts"

If you do not type a backslash (\) before the comma, the comma is interpreted as an OR in SQL, as follows:

WHERE items.itemcode LIKE '16M x 1 Dynamic Ram%' OR
items.itemcode LIKE '3.3 volts%'

Using a nonprinting ASCII character in a search expression

Tabs, line feeds, and carriage returns are examples of nonprinting ASCII characters. With the backslash as an escape character, use the nonprinting ASCII characters shown in Table 5.

Table 5 Nonprinting ASCII characters 

Special characters



Escape next character (one- or two-byte character)


Match one alarm (0x07)


Match one backspace (0x08)


Match one tab (0x09)


Match one new line (0x0a)


Match one form feed (0x0c)


Match one carriage return (0x0d)


Match one backslash (\)


Match any one-byte character excluding NUL (0x00)


Match any two-byte character

Using search results to navigate the report

The search results are linked to the report. You can choose an item displayed in the search results pane to go to the report page that contains the corresponding data. Items are listed in the order in which they appear in the report.