How can I find my content using Blob?
Blob can help you find your content in several ways:
- “Simple” global search: by typing in the main search box at the top center of the Blob Window. Blob will search in all Data Sources and in all content fields (e.g. file names, folder names, file content, song artist/lyrics, camera make/model, social media posts/comments, email subject/from/to fields etc.).
- “Advanced” search: You can open the Advanced Search screen by clicking on the search icon next to the search box on the main Blob screen.
You can also open it by clicking on the “View” button at the top left, just below the “Add Data Source” button.
Once you open the advanced search screen, you can chose which Data Sources to search and what to search for.
- Search within a specific Data Source or Virtual Folder: you can double click on a Data Source in the left panel of Blob to see its content details in the right panel. There’s another search box at the top left corner of the tab showing the contents. You can type in text into this box to search all content fields within that Data Source tab only.
- Filter within a specific Data Source or Virtual Folder: when viewing a specific Data Source or Virtual Folder’s content, you will see a blank row (called “filter row”) just below the column header text (just below the “From”, “To”, “Size” etc. text). If you type something in this filter row, Blob will only show you content that contains the search text in that column.
- Sorting content of a Data Source or a Virtual Folder: in the tab that shows the contents of a Data Source or Virtual Folder, you can click on the column header text (e.g. the “Subject”, “Size”, “Created On” etc. text) to sort the contents based on that column. For example, if you sort on “Created On” dates, you can quickly spot your content if you know the approximate date of what you are looking for.
Note that when you select the root level of a Data Source, you will see all its content in all sub-folders. If you sort the content at this root level, you will be able to find your content even if you don’t remember which sub-folder it is in.
Which content properties can I use to search?
You can search for something based on the following properties:
- For all types of files: folder name, file name, file type, file extension, creation date, last modified date, size, file attributes (e.g. is embedded inside another file, is important…), file tags and comments associated with the file (Blob will let you associate tags & comments with any file type). You can also search for a file based on the name of the compound file (e.g. zip file) it is embedded inside.
- Photo files: album name, title, GPS information, camera make or model. The “Creation Date” reported for photo files is the date the picture was taken (if this information is available) rather than the creation date of the file itself.
- Music/audio and video files: title, album name, artist name, genre, composer name and play duration. If the file contains lyrics information embedded inside it (unfortunately this is rare), Blob will automatically collect and put it in the “Comments” associated with the file so you can search the “Comments” property with lyrics text.
- Documents: file contents (content based searching is currently supported only for documents that reside on local hard drives).
- Emails: email folder name, email sender, email recipients, subject, message text, date, size, and email specific attribute (e.g. read/unread, email forwarded, replied to…) in addition to generic attributes that are applicable to all content types (important/not important…).
- Social media posts: poster’s name, post message text, date of post, date of last comment on a post, number of likes, number of comments, name of someone who “Liked” a post, name of person who commented on a post, name of person a post was addressed to, post category (categories supported by Facebook like Government Organization, Health/Wellness, Home/Garden etc.), place associated with the post and post type (e.g. status update, wall post…).
- Appointments: start time, end time, subject, location, description, category (business, personal, vacation…), type (single/recurring…) and the name of the calendar associated with the appointment.
- Contacts: name, email address, home/work/cell phone numbers and email mailbox from which the contact was harvested (Blob will automatically harvest contacts from your email messages).
Note that for all string based searches, you can specify partial strings (i.e. part of the name, part of the subject etc.). Search strings are NOT case sensitive.
Which search tests are supported?
Different search tests are supported for different types of properties:
- Search using text strings: examples include searching for a file based on its file or folder name; searching for an email based on its sender, recipients or subject; searching for a social media post based on the poster’s or commenter’s name, post message text etc. For such text based searches, you can search for content that “Contains”, “Does Not Contain”, “Is”, “Is Not”, “Starts With” or “Ends With” your search text.
“Contains”, “Starts With” and “Ends With” tests allow you to search based on partial text strings. For example, a search for documents such that their file name “Contains” “fin” will find documents that have “finance”, “financial”, “finances” etc. in their file name.
- Search using dates: examples include searching for a file, email or social media post based on its created-on or last-modified date; searching for an appointment based on its start or end date etc. You can check if the date “Is”, “Is Older Than” or “Is More Than” a specific date. You can test if the date “Is Within Range” of a start and end date you specify. You can search by specifying a time relative to when you issue the search – “Is Within The Last” specified number of seconds, minutes, hours, day, weeks, months or years.
- Search using sizes: you can search for files and emails based on their size. You can test if the size “Is”, “Is Less Than” or “Is More That” a specific size. You can also test for a size that “Is Within Range” of two sizes you specify. You can specify the size in bytes, kilobytes, megabytes or gigabytes.
- Search based on content attributes: you can search for content that does or does not have certain “attributes” (properties). All content types support the “important” and “not-important” attributes. Emails also support “read”, “unread”, “replied” and “forwarded” attributes. You can search for content that “Includes” or “Does Not Include” a specified attribute.
How can I search for content that matches multiple search criteria?
In the “Advanced” search screen, you will see buttons labelled “AND” and “OR”. After you add one search criteria, these buttons become enabled. You can click one of these buttons and enter the next search criteria you want. If you combine multiple search criteria using “AND”, the search will only return content that matches ALL search criteria. If you combine multiple search criteria using “OR”, the search will return content that matches ANY search criteria.
How can I re-run a search that I ran previously?
Blob will let you save a search that you expect to run repeatedly. To save a search, click on the “Save” button in the advanced search screen. To re-run a previously saved search, click on the “Saved Searches” drop-down in the Advanced Search screen. Select the saved search you want to re-run from the menu and click on the “Load” button below the drop-down. The selected search will be loaded and you can re-run it by clicking on the “Search” button.
Blob will also automatically save the most recent 20 searches you’ve run. To see these automatically saved searches, click on the “Recent Searches” drop-down in the Advanced Search screen. Select the recent search you want to re-run from the menu and click on the “Load” button below the drop-down. The selected search will be loaded and you can re-run it by clicking on the “Search” button.
How can I search with partial information (aka search using wildcards)?
The “Contains”, “Starts With” and “Ends With” search tests let you search with partial text strings. For example, a search for documents such that the file name Starts With “fin” will find all files that start with “fin”, including “finance”, “finances”, “financial” etc. Using the “Contains” test will return all files that contain “fin”, including “My Finances”, “Club Financial Info” etc.
Note that text based searches are always case-insensitive, so the search will report lowercase as well as uppercase matches (for each character in the search text).
Can I type in an advanced search into the main search box?
Yes. Please click on the small Help button to the right of the search icon on the main Blob screen. This will show the extensive advanced search syntax supported by Blob.
The advanced search syntax allows you to type in a query even more sophisticated than the “Advanced Search” screen, through the use of parentheses and Boolean operators OR and AND to create complex search expressions.
Is content based searching supported?
Yes, content based search is supported for documents, emails, social media posts/comments etc.
Please note that for files, content based searching is currently supported only for files that reside on the local computer’s hard disks – not for files that are email attachments or files that are stored on remote cloud storage accounts. Blob internally uses Windows Search to perform content based searches. Thus, content based file searching will not work if you disable or restrict Windows Search. This dependence on Windows Search applies only to searching for files based on their content – all other searches are independent of Windows Search.
My search did not return expected results. What can I do?