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Pinned topic IBM Knowledge Center tips and tricks

‏2014-02-22T04:42:32Z |

Access to IBM information centers will soon be redirected to IBM Knowledge Center, so take time now to explore your favorite IBM information in its new home at  If you've explored IBM Knowledge Center during its open beta, you have probably noticed some differences from the IBM information centers that you used in the past. With time and practice, using IBM Knowledge Center will become second nature. In the mean time, here are a few tips and techniques that you might be delighted to discover!    

How do collections work?
As you can tell, IBM Knowledge Center includes many topics about many IBM products. You probably use a few IBM products regularly and maybe some more products on occasion.  By using My Collections, you can define just the topics that you want to use on a regular basis. You can put all of the information for one or more products and versions in a single collection, or you can include individual topics from still other product collections. And once you set up your collection with the information you want, you can add to it, move topics up or down, change the name of the collection, and create a PDF of the topics.  

Where did my search results go?
The left part of the IBM Knowledge Center interface shows three areas: Table of Contents, My Collections, and Search Results. They don't always stay in the same order though. Whichever section is on top is the one that matches the displayed content on the right. When you visit IBM Knowledge Center, the Table of Contents is usually on top.  If you do a search, Search Results will be on top and you will see the results on the right. If you look at My Collections, that section will be on top.  To move from one section to another, simply toggle among them.

How do I narrow down my search to just the one or two products that I care about?
Fortunately, IBM Knowledge Center has powerful filtering capabilities. You define the products that you want to search in by typing the product name into the search field or by clicking Add Products in the top left of the IBM Knowledge Center interface, where you select the products that you want in your filter. After you set up the products for your filter, your search will be restricted to that set of content.

Why does my filter keep changing?
IBM Knowledge Center offers automatic filtering. When you open a topic (from the Table of Contents or Search Results), IBM Knowledge Center automatically creates a filter for the product collection of that topic. You can see the product in the filter area, which is displayed next to "Products" in the top left part of the interface. If you want, you can then expand the filter by clicking Add Products or by selecting additional filters for the date range, task, or operating system.

Can I turn off the automatic filtering?
Yes. If you don't want the automated search filter to be added to your product filter as you navigate, you can turn it off completely. On the Search Results page, click Search Options and uncheck Automatically select a product based on the current content. Once you do that, only the products that you select directly will appear as search filters, and navigating won't have any effect on your search results.

If I define a filter that I like, can I use it again, for future searches?
There are a few ways to do this. The easiest way is probably just to bookmark the IBM Knowledge Center address at the time you have your filter set up the way you want to use it in the future. You can also sign in to IBM Knowledge Center and use its Save Search option in the top right of the interface. You can then use that same search filter when you sign in next time, even from a different computer or browser.

What if I still get too many results, even after I define a good filter?
Sometimes the keywords that you are using as your search string are found in a large number of topics, so you end up with more results than you want to review. Three techniques are useful here.

  • If your search term includes more than one word that you want to use together, place the entire search string in double quotation marks. IBM Knowledge Center will return only topics that have that exact string, rather than topics that contain one or more of the individual words in your search string.
  • Sometimes you get too many results simply because your search string is commonly used. In this situation, you can revise your search string to use the intitle operator, immediately before whatever word or phrase (in double quotation marks) you are most interested in.  The intitle operator limits your search results to topics that have that word or phrase of your search string in the topic title itself. That way, you know that your search terms are of primary importance because they are mentioned in the topic title and not merely in the body of the topic.  For example, if you really want to find troubleshooting topics about performance degradation, your search string might be: performance degradation intitle:troubleshooting
  • Another situation that sometimes causes too many results is when many of the resulting topics contain information that you just don't care about. If you see in your initial results that most of the topics contain a term that makes the topic be not of interest, use the minus sign (-) before that term in your revised search term. The minus sign acts as an exclude operator.  

If a minus sign means to exclude a search term, how do I search for something that starts with a minus sign?
One example of just this situation is information about SQL codes, which generally begin with a minus sign (such as -803). If you are debugging a problem for which an SQL code is issued, you need to find the information, not to exclude it.

The easy ways around the behavior of the minus sign are to:

  • Put the minus sign and SQL code inside of double quotation marks so that IBM Knowledge Center looks for the exact phrase within the marks:  "-803"
  • Prepend the SQL code with a text string, with no space before the minus sign, which basically negates the exclusion behavior of the minus sign:  SQLcode-803

If you don't realize or forget that the minus sign excludes a term, IBM Knowledge Center will generally help you by offering a "Did you mean?" question, as shown here, to remind you that you might need to use double quotation marks around the term.

We hope that these tips are useful to you as you become more familiar with IBM Knowledge Center. More tips are available in the Help topics on the welcome page and on the IBM Knowledge Center Technical Content blog at,  which has additional information about how to get the most out of IBM Knowledge Center.

Remember that access to IBM information centers will soon be redirected to IBM Knowledge Center, so take time now to explore your favorite IBM information in its new home at