Is there any way to search flash cards by definition?

When searching cards, is there a simple way to search by definition?

Use case: I forget a particular vocab word that I know I have saved as a flash card. I remember that 'beautiful' is in the definition.

Can I search my cards by 'beautiful' and have it return any card that includes that?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
You can sort-of do this by putting a ! at the front of your search term in the regular dictionary search box; that will put any words that are in flashcards at the start of the list. Also, if you create a user dictionary you can enable full-text indexing in that, convert your custom flashcards to user dictionary entries and make those searchable that way too.

(full-text flashcard search is on our to-do list though)
 
Thanks so much for your help. The ! works pretty great!

One follow up if I may: I've added a user dictionary. How do I convert/dump my custom flashcards into it? Do I have to go one by one?

Also, once I've done that, are they searchable from the main dictionary interface? I haven't seen that to be the case so far but I must be missing something.

Under Settings>Manage Dictionaries>User C-E> Use in dictionary (toggle to ON)

But I'm not sure where to find these entries.

Let me know what you think when you get a chance. Thanks again for your help.
 
Last edited:

Shun

状元
Hi larrybills,

these are easier questions, so I'll jump in.

One follow up if I may: I've added a user dictionary. How do I convert/dump my custom flashcards into it? Do I have to go one by one?
You can select your flashcards in Organize Flashcards, tap Edit, then Batch, select Apply changes to selected cards, then choose Convert all custom to user dict. That will move all your custom cards (= cards that aren't based on a fixed dictionary) from the general flashcards database to the user dictionary you created most recently and link each flashcard to the newly created entries in the user dictionary.

Also, once I've done that, are they searchable from the main dictionary interface? I haven't seen that to be the case so far but I must be missing something.

Under Settings>Manage Dictionaries>User C-E> Use in dictionary (toggle to ON)

But I'm not sure where to find these entries.
You can try putting your user dictionaries at the top of the dictionary list in Settings > Manage Dictionaries. Otherwise, they may be buried below other dictionaries' definitions, and you may not notice them immediately.

Hope this helps,

Shun
 
@mikelove

So yesterday your tip of prepending ! to a search worked great.

The issue is now I tried to convert custom cards to user dictionary entries and now I'm stuck. The ! doesn't work on search anymore.

Before I batch everything and screw myself up further:) , do you have a way to get everything back?

All I want to do, for example, is to search the dictionary for 放过 and have it pull up not only the Pleco definition but my card that says "我不会放过你的“

Sorry to be a pest. Thanks as always for your help:)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Sorry, so you have a card with 我不会放过你的 as the headword? What happens if you just put a wildcard * character before 放过?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
This card doesn't look like it's a user dictionary entry at all yet, actually - if you convert it to one does it become searchable then?
 
Sorry, this is a wildcard search, so put * in front of it instead of !.
I tried that prepending * but got the same results (Yesterday using ! worked perfectly)

What precipitated this issue/behavior:
1) I had tried converting everything to custom user dictionary per direction up-thread:

You can select your flashcards in Organize Flashcards, tap Edit, then Batch, select Apply changes to selected cards, then choose Convert all custom to user dict. That will move all your custom cards (= cards that aren't based on a fixed dictionary) from the general flashcards database to the user dictionary you created most recently and link each flashcard to the newly created entries in the user dictionary.
2) I inadvertently deleted a user-dictionary (not the default)
3) Then the cards didn't have definitions anymore so I restored custom definitions
 

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mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Hmm... well the “restore custom definitions” should have undone that user dictionary migrate, so I’m not sure why the ! behavior would be different after that - are you sure ! searches don’t work anymore? Even for English words?
 
Hmm... well the “restore custom definitions” should have undone that user dictionary migrate, so I’m not sure why the ! behavior would be different after that - are you sure ! searches don’t work anymore? Even for English words?
So the ! behavior works for English words once again. Thank you.
So, since I'm thoroughly confused myself (sorry:) Upthread you had posted:

Also, if you create a user dictionary you can enable full-text indexing in that, convert your custom flashcards to user dictionary entries and make those searchable that way too.
Can you walk me through what to do here and what the expected behavior/benefit is?
Again, thank you. I'm a loyal subscriber and love Pleco. I appreciate your time:)
 

Shun

状元
Hi larrybills,

to relieve Mike, allow me briefly to answer your latest question again.

If you go into Settings > Manage Dictionaries, then tap on the newest user dictionary that contains your self-made flashcards, you will find the familiar dictionary settings screen. At the bottom, you can choose Add Full-text Index. If your dictionary is selected with the Use in dictionary option, you should now be able to search its full text. Screenshot:

IMG_2790.png

I checked the Pleco manual but couldn't find a section on generating full-text indexes from user dictionaries, so it could be that this particular command was skipped in the manual because Mike considered it more or less self-explanatory.

Hope this helps,

Shun
 
@Shun @mikelove

The issue I'm having is I don't conceptually understand the state where a custom card is supposed to be.

It feels like 'convert to custom cards' & 'convert to user dictionary' are at cross purposes. When I convert to user dictionary and then index, they are NOT searchable with ! or * prepended. How do these operations interact?

Here's the state of what I would like:
I would like all of my custom cards entries to be as searchable as possible (understanding that Mike said a feature is still forthcoming.)

Do you have a suggestion (or perhaps a screenshot) of what an ideal custom card should look like? I can then fiddle around to try to match.

Thanks again:)
 

Shun

状元
Hi larrybills,

persistence is a virtue! The way I understand the "!" feature works is:
  1. You enter a search term in the form of a Chinese Hanzi word with a "!" before it.
  2. Pleco searches the dictionaries the way it always does, obtaining a list of search results sorted by frequency. You can see a "+" sign in the lower right corner of some search results, which indicates that this result exists as a flashcard in your flashcard database.
  3. Pleco puts all the search results with a "+" at the lower right at the top of the list.
The other way this can work is by entering an English word with an exclamation mark before it when Pleco is set to full-text English-Chinese search (with the hollow "E" next to the search input box). Then also, Pleco first performs a regular full-text search and then sorts the Chinese search results based on whether they have a corresponding flashcard in the flashcard database, putting all search results that have a plus sign at the top of the list.

It's very easy to add cards to the flashcards database, but AFAIK you currently have to add a single card to a user dictionary and add it to flashcards from Dictionary with the "+" button in two steps. It's different if you import flashcards, there you can tell Pleco to add the flashcards to the default user dictionary, or also with the Batch command I outlined previously. So you would be an ideal candidate for Pleco 4.0, which makes all flashcards searchable directly from Dictionary, as Mike has already revealed.

If you have an entire sentence in your user dictionary, the "*" before or after a search term may not always work because the search indexing has certain limits for performance reasons (according to the manual).

So I'm able to give you a semi-positive answer. Hope it helps,

Shun
 

Shun

状元
Sorry, I just noticed that by adding an entry to a user dictionary, a flashcard is also automatically created in your default category. (see screenshots)

IMG_2798.pngIMG_2799.pngIMG_2800.png

You add a search term to a user dict, and you can see it has been added to Flashcards, as well.
 
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