search or filter for complete words only

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hi all

I'm organising a straightforward, but extensive catalogue of books. My users are frustrated when they apply a filter, or do a Ctrl-F search for, say "Fried" and it returns all occurrences of that string, such as "Friedman", rather than the word on its own. 

Any ideas? I'm sure it's simple . . .




3 Replies 3

You can't change this behavior for Ctrl-F, but for the filter, just change the filter to "is" instead of "contains".

Thanks Scott, and I hadn't played with that drop down option before - which I should have. However, doesn't "is" only select items where it's the entire contents of the field? What I'm after is returning complete words only. So that a filter for the name "Smith" in a text field doesn't report "Smithson" as well. Best wishes, Ed


Ah, I see… that sort of search is not natively available in Airtable. You won’t be able to search for “Smith” in a text field of many words… without also finding “Smithson”.

If you know how to write REGEX code, you can probably create a formula field that does whole word searches for you, but that would require changing a formula field every time you want to do a search, or integrating REGEX formula fields along with the global field trick that I describe in this podcast episode. But that would likely get pretty tedious for you.

Otherwise, if this is a critically important part of your business requirements, then you would need to find a different database app for your needs.

If you’re looking for an enterprise-grade database app that natively allows whole word searches when pressing CONTROL-F (along with 17 other types of advanced searches that are natively built into the system when pressing CONTROL-F), then I would highly recommend taking a look at FileMaker Pro, which was one of Howie Liu’s inspirations for creating Airtable.

FileMaker is considered by many people to be the #1 best databases app for advanced searching capabilities.

Take a look at the screenshot below. These are the 17 types of advanced searches that are built into FileMaker, as soon as you press CONTROL-F. These can also be mixed and matched with each other within the same search.

Beyond those 17 searches, you can also weave together unlimited “AND searches”, “OR searches”, and “OMIT searches”.

Additionally, you can save and restore an unlimited number of custom searches.

The searching capabilities in FileMaker are easy, powerful, unlimited, and fully customizable.

I was a top FileMaker developer for 30 years before becoming an Airtable consultant in 2018, so if you need a referral to some excellent FileMaker developers, please feel free to reach out to me through my website: Airtable Consultant - ScottWorld