Note: This content is no longer updated. For the latest content, please go to the user guide for M-Files Online. For information on the supported product versions, refer to our lifecycle policy.

The most efficient way of finding your documents and other objects is to use the M-Files search functions. This is especially useful when you remember only a single detail about the document or object, such as the creation date or the user who created the document.

Video: Quick Search Functionality

Search options and filters

The search options and filters allow you to define more search criteria related to the properties and location of the objects that you are searching for. You can expand the search options for quick search by clicking the search options button () to the right of the quick search field. The search filters can be opened by clicking the Filters tab in the right pane.

For example, if you want to view the documents that a certain user has checked out during last month, this is easier to do by defining search criteria in the search options than by creating a new view.

Video: M-Files Search Options

Search result sorting

The order in which the search results are listed is based mainly on frequency or recency of use. The main idea is to emphasize things that are relevant for the user. The following information is of primary importance for providing search results:

  • When was this document or other object created?
  • When and how many times was the document or other object edited?
  • When and how many times was it processed?

By using this information, you will find relevant data on the newest and most commonly used objects in the organization. If several years have passed since the creation of the document and the document has not been updated for a long time, the document is perhaps not considered very relevant for the user and is therefore not included among the first search results.

In addition to the information related to object handling mentioned above, the occurrence of the search string in metadata or file contents influences the order of the search results. The ranking of an item among the search results is influenced by the search string appearing in the following places:

  1. The name or title of the document or other object
  2. Other metadata than the name or title of the document or other object
  3. File contents

The name is of special importance because the document or object name often contains essential information about the content. Additionally, M-Files ignores certain metadata that tend to decrease the relevance of the search results. Full-text search in files is influenced by, for example, the length of the file in such a way that the shorter document is given more importance than the long one when the two have the same number of matches for the search string. In any case, the order of the search results is always more dependent on metadata than file content.

Tip: If your M-Files system administrator has enabled translated object titles, you can use the translated object titles in searches. The translated object titles are also shown in the title area of the metadata card, in the listing area, in notifications, and in value lists.

Disabling relevance sorting

The M-Files system administrator can set the results to be sorted according to the user's preference instead of the default relevance settings. For more information, see Disabling the Sorting of Search Results by Their Relevance.

Search result grouping

M-Files automatically groups search results by object type. This helps you find the correct information.

If there is a large number of search results under a grouping, M-Files shows only a part of the search results. Click Show more results to see more search results. Use the options Next and Previous to show the next or previous page. To change the number of results shown per page, right-click an empty space in the listing area and select Display Mode > Objects per Group.

Search word emphasis in the results

When you make a search, your search terms are marked in yellow on the listing area as well as on the metadata card and file content (preview). When preview is in use, search terms are highlighted in yellow in the file contents for common file formats (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and so on).

Contents of the following types of files can be highlighted in the Preview tab:

  • Email files (eml, emlx, msg)
  • HTML and web archive files (htm, html, mht, mhtml)
  • Microsoft Excel files (xlsx, xlsm, xltx, xltm, xlsb, xls, xlt)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint files (pptx, pptm, ppsx, ppsm, potx, potm, ppt, pps, pot)
  • Microsoft Word files (docx, docm, dotx, dotm, doc, dot)
  • OpenDocument files (odt, ott, ods, odp)
  • PDF files
  • RTF files
  • Text files (txt)
Note: If you search for an exact match using quotation marks in your search query, such as "dat sports", any partial matches, such as sports, are highlighted in addition to exact matches in document contents and metadata.

Exporting search results

Before you export search results, make sure that all the necessary search results are shown. M-Files exports only those search results. Use the options Show more results, Next, and Previous where necessary.

To export search results, press the Alt key and select File > Export from the menu, or right-click an empty area in the listing area and select Export from the context menu. Then, select the information that you want to export.

  • To export a list of the search results as a CSV file, unselect the Export files check box. Click OK, select the file location, and enter the file name to start the export.
  • To export a list of the search results as a CSV file and the object files, select the Export files check box. Click OK to select the file location and to enter the file name. M-Files exports the object files to a folder in that location. The folder name is <file name> (Files). To start the export, click Yes in the confirmation dialog that is opened.

You can use for example Microsoft Excel or Apache OpenOffice Calc to open CSV files.

The number of exported results can be changed with a registry setting. Ask your system administrator for necessary changes.

Search results in other vaults

When you perform a search in M-Files, the Search Results in Other Vaults pane at the bottom of the search results listing shows you the number of results in any other vaults you are connected to. If the vault icon next to the vault name is blue, it means that there are matches to your query in the vault. If, on the other hand, the vault icon is gray, it means that the search results are not yet available or there are no matches to your query in the vault.

Note that the search results in other vaults are not updated if your search is filtered by additional conditions or search refinements.

The search results are retrieved only from the vaults that you are currently logged in to. You can click Show all to view also the vaults you are currently not logged in to.

You can set your login account to be automatically logged in to a vault when Windows is started. For instructions, see Log in automatically when Windows is started.

When you click any of the vaults in this pane, you are taken to the vault in question and the search results for your query are displayed.

The Search Results in Other Vaults pane can be hidden or displayed by right-clicking on an empty space in the listing area and selecting Display Mode > Show Search Results in Other Vaults from the context menu.

You can also show the Search Results in Other Vaults pane minimized by default, so that only the heading of the pane is displayed until you expand the pane. To display the pane minimized by default, right-click on an empty space in the listing area and select Display Mode > Bottom Pane > Minimized from the context menu. Note that this setting affects all the panes that are displayed at the bottom of the listing area.

If you want the Search Results in Other Vaults pane to be disabled by default, you may adjust the following registry setting on the client computer:

Key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Motive\M-Files\<version>\Client\MFShell\<vault>
Value name MultiVaultSearchEnabled
Value type REG_DWORD
Description Enables or disables the Search Results in Other Vaults pane.
Default value 1 The Search Results in Other Vaults pane is enabled.
Valid values 0 The Search Results in Other Vaults pane is disabled.
1 The Search Results in Other Vaults pane is enabled.