This week I’ve been blogging about how searching for the asterisk symbol in a Bible window will either display all verses or search for every word. But what about in a Tool window?

You don’t search Accordance tools by words and verses, but by the various fields of content each tool contains (Titles, Content, Scripture, etc.). Entering an asterisk in the search entry box, regardless of which field is selected, will always display the entire contents of the tool. This is analogous to the asterisk in a Bible window when Verses is selected.

There may be times, however, when you actually want to search for every word in a particular search field. If the asterisk by itself always displays the entire text without actually searching for every word, how would you search for every word in a field? An easy way to do it is to search for a question mark followed by an asterisk, like this: ?*. The question mark is a wildcard symbol which represents any single character, and the asterisk is a wildcard symbol which represents any combination of characters. Entering the two together in a tool window makes it clear that you want to find and highlight every word in the currently selected field.

Why would you want to highlight every word in a given field? Here’s one useful example. Let’s say you’ve taken advantage of our current dictionary sale (which ends next week) to pick up the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible. One of the selling points of this five-volume reference is its many high-quality photographs and illustrations. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to search for all those images so you can quickly scroll through them, just to get an idea of the kinds of illustrations you now have access to?

To do this, open the ZEB and select Captions in the field pop-up menu. Now enter ?* and hit return. Accordance will search for every word in the captions field, effectively finding every image. You can then use the Mark buttons to jump from image to image.

Now, here’s the cool trick. Select Paragraphs from the Show pop-up menu to see only those paragraphs of the ZEB which contain a search hit. This effectively hides everything but the images and their captions, enabling you to scroll through the entire tool to see the kinds of images it contains. Set the image size to Large (by choosing Set Tool Display from the Display menu), and you’ll get a result which looks like this:

A search for every word in the Captions field of ZEB offers a concise view of every image.

Try doing that with the print edition!