Copyright (C) 1988,89,90 by David L. Trafton
LOOKFOR is a program for rapidly searching text files
for the occurrences of words and phrases and then displaying the
occurrences in reasonably formatted full-screen context. Words
and phrases may be joined by the connectors AND and OR and
searched for in a logical context. The search words are
highlighted and the display may be scrolled or paged through the
text file. Excerpts may be printed out or accumulated in a new
file for later revision with a word processor.
An IBM-PC or compatible and MS-DOS 2.0+ are required to
use this program.
LOOKFOR has been designed to accept search queries in
plain English, although economy of wording is desirable. For
example, at the DOS command prompt, the entry of:
"lookfor marsupial and radish or turnip in \diary6\*.*"
would load LOOKFOR and commence a search of all files in root
subdirectory DIARY6 and its subdirectories for the occurrence of
MARSUPIAL(S) within a predetermined proximity to either
RADISH(ES) or TURNIP(S). A file specification is only recognized
from the DOS command prompt.
The best way to begin using LOOKFOR is to simply run
the program and follow the prompts. gets HELP at any time.
invokes a color selection menu for the display.
At the "Looking for" prompt, type in the words and
phrases using up to 3 ANDs and any number of ORs. The query may
be up to 64 characters long.
EVERY "AND" IN THE QUERY MUST BE SATISFIED TO RECORD A
"HIT". Note that the range within which the ANDed terms must
occur is changeable with the key. Specifying a range of 100
characters would establish approximately one line as the range;
300 approximately one sentence; 1000 approximately one screen.
Specifying "document" for the range requires only that all the
ANDed terms of the query appear somewhere in the file. They will
be highlighted but not otherwise identified by location in that
The key selects whether graphics characters are
searched and displayed or are converted by having their eighth
bit ignored. Converting is helpful for Wordstar files.
A search query is made up of one or more terms joined
with ANDs. Each term is made up of one or more words or phrases
joined by ORs.
Endings on words in the searched text are ignored.
Thus, a search for "computer" will find "computer", "computers",
and "computerized". However, if "computer" is the last word in a
term, placing a space at the end of the word will require that
the word end at that point with a space or other nulled
An apostrophe may be used as the first character in the
first word of a term as a wildcard to find embedded
occurrences of the word. Thus, "'computer" will match with
"computer", "minicomputer", and "microcomputer" as well as their
A filename will be asked for next. Many options are
available at this point. Using DOS conventions, the default
drive may be changed (for example, enter A:), or the subdirectory
may be changed (for example, enter CD \NEWPATH\MOREPATH or CD..
or CD ONPATH), or a directory may be viewed (for example, DIR or
DIR A:*.TXT). If a particular file is wanted, enter its name.
Wildcards such as "*.txt" may be used. If nothing is specified,
the default is "*.*".
The key selects how far in the text LOOKFOR jumps
ahead after finding a hit. If there are many hits on the same
screen, it is more efficient to go on to another screen when the
next hit is selected for display. If the display lines are very
short, select a slight jump ahead to be sure to see them all. If
it is desirable to count every occurrence of a word, set the jump
ahead for none.
The key selects the display line that the current
hit will appear on. The hit line may be set from 1 to 9. It is
usually desirable to be able to see text before and after the
occurrence of the searched word or expression.
The key selects whether or not all of the included
subdirectories are to be searched after the parent subdirectory
is searched. LOOKFOR will search up to 5 subdirectories deep for
all matching filenames with or without wildcards.
After the search has begun, the first file containing
hits will be presented for display. An option exists for having
all the hits sent to a printer. This is useful for later
perusal. Ordinarily, the search results will only be viewed on
Assuming viewing is selected, the left and right cursor
keys move from hit to hit. The may also be used for
jumping to the next hit. The up and down cursor keys scroll the
display by lines. The display may be paged with the and
keys, and the display may be jumped to the beginning or
end of the file with the and keys.
When viewing very large files, it will sometimes be
desirable to jump forward and backward in larger increments than
paging allows. The and keys skip in 20 kilobyte
increments (if possible) and the and keys skip
in 200 kilobyte increments. When large blocks of text are
skipped over, the hit counter is reset to the nearest hit.
Pressing the <-> key toggles highlighting, and the <+> key moves
on to the next file.
Printing options are available when viewing a file.
Pressing the unshifted key will print the screen contents
including the heading but not the menu bars. Pressing the
key will allow the cursor to be moved around on the screen.
Pressing at any space position inserts a start marker and
inserts an end marker. Several pairs of markers may be used
if desired. The start marker may be omitted for printing from
the beginning of the screen and the end marker may be omitted if
printing goes to the end of the screen. Markers may be deleted
key. Pressing causes the excerpts to be
printed out. If no markers are inserted, the full text on the
screen is printed without header and menu bars. Thus, with
paging, contiguous screens of text may be printed.
Similar to the
option for printing, pressing the
key allows excerpts to be prepared for a new disk file. A
new filename is required for each session of LOOKFOR to protect
existing files from being overwritten. Once an excerpt file has
been created within a session, all subsequent excerpts are
appended to that file unless a new filename is specified.
Use the key to leave any LOOKFOR function.
When LOOKFOR is in a query mode, pressing the key
displays the translation table and other options. All control
characters except ASCII 20 () and 21 () are permanently
nulled to prevent adverse effects on the search of a file. The
other characters may be optionally translated, however. The
punctuation marks are normally nulled to prevent their affecting
a search, but they are displayed in the results. The lower case
characters are translated to upper case to make searches case
insensitive. The foreign characters are translated from lower
case to upper case for the IBM multilingual code page, and the
other graphics are nulled for searching but may be displayed if
that option is selected from the query screen. Follow the
displayed instructions for changing character translations. Note
that the translation table affects only how the characters of a
file are searched -- not how they are displayed.
When finished with the table, press and other
options are presented. The first option presented is to modify
the filename extensions that LOOKFOR skips when searching. Non-
text files should not be searched. Typically, such files have
extensions of "COM" or "EXE" if they are programs or "ARC" or
"ZIP" if they are compressed code files.
Press again and note the option of saving the
changes to the LOOKFOR program. LOOKFOR.COM must be in the
current directory to do this. All parameters previously selected
with the keys (including display colors) will be saved along
with the translation table with one exception: the space
character will always be saved as a null to avoid surprise
results on search queries in future sessions. It is usually
desirable to be able to find phrases that are interrupted by
variable spacing and punctuation.
LOOKFOR may be used to just view a file without
searching for anything. Enter nothing for the search query and
give the filename when prompted. The program utilizes 64K of
memory, but files of virtually any size can be searched and
viewed. LOOKFOR has a limit of 1000 hits that may be stored. Not
necessarily every hit on a search query will be counted as a hit
because of the jump ahead feature, but every hit should be seen
on the display.
Shareware versions of LOOKFOR are meant to be
distributed free for trial use. Any person who adopts the
program for regular personal use is expected to pay $15 to the
author. If adopted by an organization for its use, the fee for
each workstation where LOOKFOR is used is $15. Site licenses are
Users of LOOKFOR are expected to make their own copies
of the program. Modification of the program or resale for more
than the cost of distribution are prohibited.
The author may be contacted by electronic mail by
posting a message to him on Chevy Chase Board BBS, Alexandria,
VA, (703) 549-5574. A routed message may be left for him on any
BBS which is a member of the RelayNet (tm) network, by posting a
message in the RelayNet COMMON conference, addressed to David
Trafton, with the first line as follows:
There must not be a space between the arrow formed by -> and the
Network ID, CHEVY.
The author may also be contacted by electronic mail on
any BBS which is a member of the MetroLink (tm) network and which
carries the DCINFO MetroLink conference, by posting a message
addressed to David Trafton in that conference. Note that
MetroLink does not support either Routed or "Receiver Only"
messages between BBSes.
Considerable effort has been expended to make LOOKFOR
dependable and safe to use. However, the author cannot be
responsible for any consequences arising from its use.
AUTHOR: David L. Trafton
6309 Stoneham Rd.
Bethesda, Md. 20817