Desktop Search Tool Revolution 2 – The Power of Triangulation

August 16, 2007

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Search is not just for “lost documents” anymore, the very fast and robust nature of Desktop Search Tools makes them THE perfect information retrieval portal for ALL information on your computer.

In my post Desktop Search Tool Revolution, I discussed the benefits of using a desktop search tool to locate information stored on your computer’s hard drive. In this post, we’ll examine how to optimize its use.

The first step is a hard one for most folks to wrap their thinking around - but it’s the key to optimally using a Desktop Search Tool (DST): Don’t just use the DST as a last resort! Instead make it THE primary “information retrieval portal” on your machine. Even if you know exactly where a file is, the DST can find it and open it faster in most cases.

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Also, most of the DST programs offer a “portal” option that permanently places a search bar next your computer’s system try (near the clock) for easy and permanent access. You can also configure most DSTs to use hot keys. For instance with Google DST you can open a quick search by typing “ctrl” twice.

Since DSTs also finds your browser’s favorites list, it makes opening your bookmarks easier than ever. Since so many of my clients struggle with organizing bookmarks – using a DST makes retrieving them almost effortless (as long as the links are well named).

The next step in optimizing your use of the DST is what I call “triangulation”. When searching for information on your computer, the more you know about the document the easier it is to find. For instance, if you know (1. type of doc) it’s an email, (2. author) from your boss, (3. key word or phrase in the subject or body) it’s about the budget; you’ll be able to quickly narrow your search results. Other helpful “data points” to consider while narrowing your search results are “date it was received” (or modified) and/or its “folder location”.

Practice makes proficient. So the next time you need to retrieve an email, or another key doc, remember to “DTS it” … retrieval by clicking through file directories is so five years ago!

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