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FileCloud's Federated Search

In the Admin Portal, FileCloud includes a federated search that looks for matches in file names, folder names, file content, and metadata. It is also capable of searching for complex strings using regular expressions.

The ability to search the entire FileCloud system for files and folders is available in FileCloud Server version 17.3 and later.

The PCRE search is available in FileCloud Version 21.1 and higher.

As an administrator, you may need to find a file or folder quickly in a large data set.
  • FileCloud supports searching the entire FileCloud system for files and folders with the Federated Search feature. 
  • The search may be a basic file or folder name search.
  • For full content search, configure content search for documents.
  • Search results may contain matches from both managed storage and network folders.
  • Search results can be downloaded, and if applicable, previewed.
  • Search results cannot be copied, moved or deleted.


A basic search searches for the search term in file and folder names, and if content search is enabled, in the content of files.

The following procedure assumes that you have enabled full content search for documents.

To perform a basic search on the entire site:

  1. From the left navigation panel of the Admin Portal, under Misc., click Federated Search.
  2. On the search screen, in the search box, type the search term and press enter.
    Files and folders with the search term in their names as well as files containing text that contains the search term are listed as search results. Text in files containing the search terms is shown.

An advanced search lets you search on the search term and any of the options shown and listed below:

Advanced search boxSearch options

Term - (required) The string to search for.

Scope - Which content to search.

All - File and folder names if content search is not enabled. File and folder names and content in files when content search is enabled. See All search, below.

Name Only - File and folder names only. See Name only search, below.

Content Only - Content in files only. See Content only search, below.

Metadata - Content stored in metadata fields only. You must define conditions to search for instead of entering a search term. See Metadata search, below. 

PII - Personally identifiable information in content only. You must select a PII type instead of entering a search term. See PII and PCRE searches, below.

PCRE - Only appears when the PCRE mode setting is enabled. Searches on regular expressions. See PII and PCRE searches, below.

Search Type - Options are All files/folders, Files Only, and Folders Only. Not applicable for Metadata search.

Path Selection - Either All or Selected. If Selected is chosen, Selected Path is enabled for you to enter a path. 

Selected Path - When Selected is chosen for Path Selection, this is enabled. Enter the path to search on.

Date - Range of Last Modified dates to search on.

Results Count - Number of results to return. Choose Limit 50 or All. Use Limit 50 to reduce lengthy search times. 

Use Cache Results - When checked, this returns any saved results of the same search instead of performing the search again. This gives you faster results but does not take into account changes since the previous search.


All search

All is selected by default. This search looks for matches in file and folder names when content search is not enabled. It looks for matches in file and folder names and in the content of files when content search is enabled.


Name Only search 

When Name Only is selected, the search only looks for matches in file and/or folder names.


Content Only search

When Content Only is selected, the search only looks for matches in the text of files. To perform a content search, you must have full content search enabled.


Metadata search

To perform a metadata search, select Metadata and define a condition specifying the metadata field value that you are searching for. In the example below, the search is configured to look for content with the image orientation field set to horizontal.


PII and PCRE searches

The PII search and the PCRE search both search for regex patterns, but each has its own advantages.

  • PII search - The PII search is faster and more efficient than the PCRE search, and it displays the content it matches; however, it cannot match text that includes spaces or special characters. Therefore, you must use a PCRE search to find defined PII patterns that include spaces or special characters (such as US social security numbers with dashes).

  • PCRE search - The PCRE search is much more powerful than the PII search and can match patterns with spaces and special characters. However it is slower and less efficient, and it displays the file names of matches but it does not display the matched text. When you perform a PCRE search you must enter the entire pattern into the search field; you cannot choose it from a list of predefined patterns.

PII search

The PII search searches for patterns that are set up in the Manage PII Search box in your Settings > Content Search tab (but cannot match PII patterns with spaces or special characters in them).

It is simpler than PCRE search and highlights content it matches. It also supports management and groupings of PII patterns which is convenient when needing to re-use a particular regex often.

PCRE search

The PCRE search is a content search that uses the regex engine of Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE). It is meant to be used by regex experts, search power users, and users who want to cross check patterns used in CCE (smart classification)

The PCRE search enables you to search directly on patterns typically used in CCE, for example, Amex CC numbers with the following patterns:

  • 3[47]{1}[0-9]{13}
  • 3[47]{1}[0-9]{2}-[0-9]{6}-[0-9]{5}
  • 3[47]{1}[0-9]{2} [0-9]{4} [0-9]{4} [0-9]{3}


The PCRE search option only appears when you enable PCRE mode in your system configuration.

To enable PCRE mode:

Note: Enabling PCRE mode has a performance impact on searches.

  1. Open cloudconfig.php.
    • Windows Location : C:\xampp\htdocs\config\cloudconfig.php
    • Linux Location : /var/www/html/config/cloudconfig.php
  2. Add the following:

    define("TONIDOCLOUD_PII_PATTERN_SEARCH_PCRE_MODE_ENABLED",1);
  3. Save your edits.
  4. Re-index your content; otherwise, existing files are not searchable by PCRE.
    After PCRE search is enabled, newly uploaded files are automatically searchable by PCRE. 

Complex searching with PCRE mode 

The PCRE search is capable of using complex patterns to match strings. In the following example, the PCRE term matches with file contents that contain both dog and cat in any order.




The following files are returned. The first is opened to show the matching content.


Performing a PCRE Search

In the following video, the PCRE search looks for social security numbers.