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The best way to locate very specific data in Phocas, such as 'Customers whose sales have declined by more than 5% over the last 3 months', is to use advanced search. This is a rules-based search and is typically used for creating a report or favorite, rather than during ad hoc analysis.

Accessing Advanced search

You can access advanced search using the keyboard shortcut Alt+S or via the search icon . An active advanced search is shown by an asterisk next to the relevant dimension.

Using the search icon

  • If you have already entered text in the search box, selecting   displays a list of properties and an advanced search option at the bottom of the list. 
  • If no text is entered in the search box, clicking the search icon will bring up advanced search. 


Typing in the search box and hitting Enter automatically creates an advanced search rule and applies it to the grid. E.g., typing 'silver' in the search box then Enter will result in the following advanced search rules being automatically applied: 

The image below shows these rules (automatically populated) in the advanced search window.

Advanced search rules 

Rules can range from a simple property rule (e.g. 'city = newcastle') to multiple rules (e.g, to search for customers whose sales have declined for the last three consecutive months, who spent more than $10,000, who are located in the North region and who buy Brand 'X'). The rule types are:

  • Entity
  • Property
  • Measure
  • Variance
  • Calculation 

A summary of the rule appears in the status bar. You can continue your analysis while an advanced search is active.  

Rule types

Advanced search rule types in detail.

How to create an advanced search 

  1. Select a database, make sure the 'search' box is empty and select the Search icon  or use Alt+S.
  2. Select a dimension. You can create rules for more than one dimension within the same advanced search window. The number of rules will appear in brackets next to the dimension (you can create more than one rule at the same time. If you switch between dimensions your previous rules will be remembered).
  3. Choose the green Plus icon and select a rule type. You can repeat this step to add more rules. 
  4. If you are creating more than one rule, choose 'And' or 'Or' for each set of rules within a dimension.
    • Use And if you want the result set to match all of the rules.
    • Use Or if you want the result set to match at least one of the rules. 

  5. Configure your settings for the rule (or rules). For more information on this see Advanced search rule types

How-to videos

Note. These videos may show screens from an earlier version of Phocas. However, the advanced search functionality is the same.



Exclude data by using 'not equal to'  

  1. Select Plus  > Entity.
  2. Choose 'Not Equal To'". 
  3. Select the entity or entities to exclude. 
  4. Apply. 

Edit an advanced search 

If you do not save an advanced search as a favorite, it will remain active until it is deleted or cleared or the database is exited. Select the Search icon to edit existing rules or add more rules.

It is recommended that advanced search is the last step in your analysis. That is, select and focus on items prior to using advanced search.  

Save as a favorite

You can save an advanced search as a favorite. This saves the rules you used to get the results, not the actual list of results returned. For example, an advanced search set to show declining customers might return a list of 45 declining customers. Saving this search as a favorite saves the search rules, not the 45 customers. The next time this favorite is opened, a different list of declining customers is likely to appear. 

Working examples 

Locate declining customers

Example: Using variance rule to locate declining customers 

Find product sales that beat a target

Example: Using calculation rule to find products that exceed sales target 

Combine rules

Example: Using multiple rules to locate declining customers who have spent a particular amount 

Other ways to search for data

The search box allows you to type in text to locate data within your currently selected dimension. You can search for individual or multiple items. As a general rule, the search box only allows you to search whatever is currently shown on screen.

Right-click filter

Right-clicking (or a long-tap on a device) in a cell in most modes presents a shortcut, also known as a filter on column, that allows you to perform a quick search of columns in the grid, based on data in that cell. This feature is sometimes referred to as an 'Advanced search shortcut', although it does not open the advanced search window.

Search mode

Search mode allows you to view and search master lists of data independent of periods, and without any transactions listed.