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Search Engine

Visual Studio 2005

The Visual SourceSafe search engine uses an always-on file filtering mechanism for searches of the file and project lists in Visual SourceSafe Explorer. The search engine uses both search and find operations. Search operations examine one or more files for all instances matching the search criteria. Search operations can be recursive, to search all the subprojects under the current project, or global, to search the entire project list. Find operations locate particular text strings within files.

Search Mechanisms

Visual SourceSafe furnishes two search commands on the View menu of Visual SourceSafe Explorer. You must have the Read project right to use the two commands. For more information, see How to: Search for a File.

Search for Wildcard

The Wildcard Search command opens the Search for Wildcard dialog box, where you can search for a specified pattern or string. For example, you can use a wildcard search to find all files with the *.c extension. There are three wildcard characters that you can use in a search string.


Matches any number of characters. This character is similar to the standard MS-DOS asterisk (*) wildcard character. For example, specification of wh* finds what, white, and why. Specification of *at finds cat, bat, and what.


Matches any single character. This character is similar to the standard MS-DOS question mark (?) wildcard character. For example, specification of b?ll finds ball, bell, and bill.


Makes the character following it literal. This is necessary if you want to search for asterisks, question marks, or backslashes. For example, specification of \* finds all instances of an asterisk. Specification of \\ finds all instances of a backslash.

Search for Status

The Status Search command brings up the Search for Status dialog box. You can use this command to search for files in the database with a particular checkout status.

Search Results

The results of a search are displayed in a results window. At the top, Visual SourceSafe lists all the files that contain matches. At the bottom, the matching strings in the currently selected file are displayed. As you scroll through the top list, the bottom display changes to reflect the changing file selection.

Find Mechanisms

Visual SourceSafe allows searches for all occurrences of a character string in selected files by using its find commands. You must have the Read project right to use these commands. For more information about using the find commands, see How to: Search for a Text String in Multiple Files.

Find in Files Command

The Find in Files command is available on the Tools menu of Visual SourceSafe Explorer. This command opens the Find in Files dialog box, and can apply to selected files or on an entire project.

Find Command

Visual SourceSafe also supports string searches through the Find command, which opens a Find dialog box The Find command can be accessed when you are viewing or editing files, or when you are viewing differences between files.

See Also