Search Tools: Advanced Tools

Finalsite’s Search Element includes Advanced Features that can be activated as an additional contract item (contact your Client Success rep for more details).

The advanced Search Tools are:

  • Advanced Syntax: Allow users to specify exact-match phrases and exclusion phrases in search results.
  • Results Preview: Displays suggested results live on the page as the user enters their search terms.
  • Search Synonyms: Create custom words and phrases that automatically return selected pages when entered as search terms.

After Advanced Search features have been activated for your site, they can be managed from the “Search Tools” menu in the Composer Main Menu.


Select “Advanced Tools” in the “Search Tools” menu to display the Advanced Tools options.


Only the “Manage Synonyms” feature has controls for admins to edit. The other Advanced Search features indicate their current status, but don’t have any options to configure.

Advanced Syntax

In the context of a web search, “syntax” refers to extra characters you can add to a search to refine how the results appear. The syntax in Finalsite Search allows for exact-phrase matching, and term exclusion.

Exact Phrases

Putting a search phrase in quotation marks forces the search engine to only show pages where the search terms exist in the exact order you specify. So searching for varsity soccer might display the result “Boys Soccer Varsity Team,” while searching for “varsity soccer”> would not.

Excluding Results

Adding a minus (-) sign immediately before a search term forces the search engine to exclude from the results any pages with that term.

Example: soccer -varsity would return all pages that include the word “soccer,” except those that >also include the term “varsity.”

Results Preview

When the Results Preview feature is active, end users will see possible matches for their search terms appear as they are typing, autocomplete-style. As the user types more, the results will be further refined to match the user’s input.

Results Preview must be activated in the element settings for a given Search element. (In other words, it’s a per-element setting, not a global setting for all Search elements on your site.)

Note: Even if the user clicks on a page suggested by Results Preview and does not complete the search, the term or phrase will still be tracked in the internal site search analytics.

Search Synonyms

Search Synonyms allow admins to define certain words that may be unique to their school and therefore difficult for a search engine to otherwise understand. For example, “kids” might be set as a synonym for “children.”

Click the green “+Add Synonym” button to create a new Search Synonym.


Select the synonym type, “Synonym” or “One-way Synonym.”

For a regular Synonym, admins can supply one or more words, all of which are considered equivalent (“athletics” = “sports” = “phys ed,” for example.) To create Synonyms, simply enter all of the equivalent words in the “Synonyms” field.


For a One-way Synonym, Word A can stand in for Word B, but Word B cannot stand in for Word A. This can be used to create synonyms for generalizations (think, “all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares”), or simply to link search terms that refer to the same concept but are not identical.


Note: Adding a Synonym will enable it for all domains that are managed in Composer.

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