Create a search filter

Ah, yes: what about saved filters? To explain what a saved filter is, let’s start by creating a simple little filter of our own:

Note that, in this example, we used Guided Search to create and save our filter. However, you don’t have to go this route. If you prefer, you can type your query in the Search profiles field, then follow the instructions we’re about to give you for saving a filter.

Let’s assume that this is a useful filter, one that we want to reuse over and over again. Because of that, we can save the filter by completing the following procedure:

  1. Click the Search History and Saved Filters icon to display the pop-up menu.

  2. In the menu, click Save new filter:

  3. In the Create new saved search dialog box, enter a name for the filter in the Filter Name field:

  4. Click Save.

The new filter will now be available under Saved Filters:

Note that filter names must be unique: you can only have one filter named Non-US Residents. If you attempt to reuse a filter name, you’ll be asked to either save the new filter under a different name or to rewrite the existing version of the filter:

Unlike the search history, filters are stored centrally: that means that filters are available regardless of the computer/browser you are currently using. For example, suppose you save a filter using the Safari browser on Computer A:

If you later log on from Computer 2, using the Chrome web browser, that saved filter will be available to you:

Filters are also saved on a per-user basis: a filter that you saved will not be available to any other agent (not even an administrator). And filters are saved separately for each entity type. For example, suppose you have two entity types: user and employees. If you create a filter (Last Login Date) for the user entity type, you can save and re-use that filter any time you’re working with that entity type. However, if you switch to the employees entity type, the Last Login Date filter will not be available. If you want to use the same filter on multiple entity types, you’ll need to re-create that filter for each type.

Guided searches and search filters

When working with Guided Search you’ll see the terms “searches” and “filters” used over and over again. What’s the difference between a search and a filter? Well, depending on how you want to look at it, there’s not much difference at all: both searches and filters use the Console query language to search for user profiles. For example, try this exercise. From the Manage Profiles page, in the Search profiles field, type the following query:

displayName = "Bob*"

That’s a search: a query that you typed into the Search profiles field. Click the Search button, and you’ll get back a list of all the users who have a display name that begins with the string value Bob:

So much for searches. Next, click the Show Filters link:

When you do that, your screen should look similar to this (from now on we’ll refer to the newly-visible section as the Guided Search pane):

As you can see, the new filter (which the Console automatically constructed for you), exactly matches the query you typed into the Search profiles field: the Search profiles field displays the query displayName = “Bob*“ and the Guided Search pane shows the exact same thing.

But wait: it gets even better. In the filter, click the is equal to operator (=) and change it to the is not equal to operator (!=):

Your filter now looks like this:

And what about the query that you originally typed into the Search profiles field? As it turns out, modifying the filter automatically modifies the search query as well:

Here’s one more thing to try. In the Guided Search pane, click the Clear button. When you do that, both the search query and the filter are deleted:

To make a long story short, if you type a query in the Search profiles field, a new filter is automatically created for you. If you create a filter using Guided Search, a new search query is automatically added to the Search profiles field. The two are inseparable: you cannot have a search query without Guided Search creating a corresponding filter, and you cannot use Guided Search to create a filter without having a corresponding search query show up in the Search profiles field.

Of course, that leads to an obvious question: if searches and filters are pretty much the same thing, then why have both of them? Why not have just searches or just filters?

To answer that question, it helps to think of searches and filters as being two means to the same end. For example, suppose you need to leave a note to a coworker, asking him to notify you when a particular job is done. If you want to you can write this note in manuscript (i.e., printing):

Alternatively, you can use cursive writing to create the note:

Does it matter whether you use manuscript or cursive? No, it doesn’t: either way, Bob knows that he’s supposed to call you when he’s finished. All that really matters is whether you’re more comfortable writing in manuscript or more comfortable writing in cursive. Likewise, when it comes to searching for user profiles, are you more comfortable writing queries yourself, or would you prefer to have the Console help you write those queries.