NEAR/3 and result highlight

I have a Tools/Search window open, searching for ABC NEAR/3 XYZ.

The results list shows a document, when I select that document I would like to see the bit that matched “ABC NEAR/3 XYZ”. Instead I see the first bit that matches just ABC.

How do I locate the match for “ABC NEAR/3 XYZ”?


Hold down Control-Command and press the Right Arrow key to navigate to the next highlighted search term(s), etc. That’s the keyboard shortcut for Go > Next Highlight.

But I don’t want the next highlight of “ABC” or of “XYZ”, I want the highlight of “ABC NEAR/3 XYZ”, i.e. some section of text that matched that complex search. Go > Next Highlight does not appear to do that.

Christian has noted that a future release may limit the highlighting of proximity search queries, but that’s not now the case. I gather that this isn’t a trivial coding issue.

So you will need to manually parse through the highlighted terms to identify cases where the proximity condition is true.

If you are searching documents that use standard relations of terms, perhaps another mode rather than use of proximity operators would work for you. Example: For a document that uses a string relationship such as “Author: Huxley, Aldous” but sometimes “Author: Aldous Huxley” use both exact strings (in quotation marks) with the OR operator, instead of the NEAR operator. Occurrences of the exact strings only will be highlighted.

That’s disappointing, manual parsing can be impractical for large documents with lots of individual matches. And the lack of meaningful color coding of the highlights makes it quite painful.

Hope this bubbles up in the priority list of features. Thanks for the suggestions anyway …

Any news on this feature? I would very much like to see it implemented.

I +1 to ask this feature. I use large PDF and it is a pain to find the highlight that actually match the research query.

I can got tens or hundreds false results before getting the right one :frowning:

Maybe this thread would be better located in the Feature Request part of this forum?

I agree. I bought Devonthink Pro largely to create a searchable database of scanned PDFs, but the proximity search limitations are proving a significant problem. It would be great if this could be improved.

Bill has an informative, lengthy explanation of related search results highlighting issues here:

[url]"exact" searches not so "exact"]

While not exactly encouraging, it may be of interest.