How to make common words like 'the' searchable

Last Reviewed: October 24, 2015

Article: DTS0115


Applies to: dtSearch Desktop 6, 7


When I try to search for words like "the" or "that", they show up in the index as "noise" words and dtSearch does not find any hits.

A search for phrases like "the car" finds "a car", "my car:, etc.


Words such as "the" and "my" are not searchable because dtSearch considers them to be "noise" words.  A noise word is a word that is so common that it is not useful in searches.  To make indexing and searching faster, noise words are not indexed and are ignored in index searches.  When you search for a phrase with a noise word, dtSearch ignores the noise word in the phrase and just searches for the other words.  For example, if you search for "the car", dtSearch will just search for "car".

To change the noise word list in dtSearch,,

1.   Click Options > Preferences > Indexing Options > Letters and Words

2.   Click the Edit... button next to the noise word list, or click the "..." button to select a different file.

Changes to the noise word list will only affect new indexes.  When an index is created, it gets a private copy of the noise word list.  The noise word list is copied into the file index_n.ix, in the index folder.  (This is a plain text file, so after you create an index, you can open the index_n.ix file in a text editor to see what it contains.)

In the dtSearch Engine API, the option setting to control the noise word list is Options.NoiseWordFile.  To change the noise word list using the API, (1) set Options.NoiseWordFile to the name of the noise word list to use, (2) call Options.Save() to apply the changes, and (3) create an index.

Some common words like "and" and "not" are also boolean connectors in dtSearch.  To make these words searchable as part of search requests, edit the noise word list as described above, and also put quotation marks around any phrase that includes a connector word so dtSearch knows that you mean to search for the words as part a phrase.  For more information on searching for connector words, please see: How to search for connector words like 'and' and 'not'