This documentation supports the 23.3 version of BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management.

To view an earlier version, select the version from the Product version menu.

How knowledge articles are found

BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management enables you to search for the knowledge articles contained in your knowledge database by using the following search types:

  • Simple search — Perform a search by using any of the search words.
  • Advanced search — Provide additional search criteria to narrow your search results.

In addition to procedural instructions, this section contains common use cases that you might typically encounter when performing simple or advanced searches. Although Calbro Services user personas illustrate the use cases, no references are intended toward specific Calbro Services sample data or real-life users.

Procedures and references to page elements provided in this section use default settings and values, and do not reflect customized settings.

Related topics

Performing an accrue search Open link (Action Request System documentation)

Define a complex search criteria by using the advanced search bar Open link (Action Request System documentation)

Searching for tickets, assets, resources, and people in BMC Helix ITSM Open link (BMC Helix ITSM documentation)

After you perform a search, the search results that match your most recent search criteria are displayed on the Simple Search page. Depending on your user permissions, you can open a search result for viewing, editing, using, printing, and modifying. Searches are deleted when you close the Search page.

Search results contain only those articles that you are permitted to view, and which fulfill all of the search criteria.

Accessing the search page

You can search for knowledge articles from the following locations:

  • Action Request System Home page — Applications > Knowledge Management > Search Knowledge.
    All users can search from this location.
  • BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management Console — Navigation pane > Functions > Search Knowledge.
    Only authorized users can search from this location.

Knowledge search guidelines

The following guidelines apply when performing search queries:

  • Use the words that are most likely to appear in the knowledge article's title or contents.
  • Choose descriptive and unique words.
  • Check your spelling.
  • Check that the criteria is accurate when searching for specific knowledge article titles or exact phrases.
  • Use only one advanced search field such as Include all of these words, Exclude these words, and include this exact phrase. Using multiple field displays invalid search results.
  • Use a space to separate search words in Search Text fields.
  • Use the percent sign (%) to represent the wildcard search.

For more information, see the KB000129846 knowledge article.

Knowledge search might be affected by the following settings:

  • Permission to view certain knowledge articles
  • Case-sensitivity settings
  • Stemming configuration
  • List of stop words

The following characters have special meaning in Full Text Search and may affect the search results when used unintentionally.




Performs a word or phrase search on the terms enclosed in double quotation marks (").


Finds requests that contain any of the specified words.


Wildcard to extend the search.

Note: You need not to use a wildcard to extend the search for word stems, such as "ed", "s", and "ing" because word stems are automatically included.


Indicates an enclosed component within a Boolean search phrase.

Note: If you insert an opening parenthesis, you must also add a closing parenthesis.

For more information about using parentheses in your query string, see Performing searches on multiple forms Open link in the Action Request System online technical documentation.

AND, OR, and NOT

When in all caps, are interpreted as a Boolean search.

Performing simple searches

In Simple Search, you must enter search criteria in the Search field. Searching with a blank Search field returns no search results.

When you enter multiple query terms as search criteria, BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management uses the Boolean OR operation to query the knowledge base. For example, if you enter hardware or a software failure, BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management returns results that contain any of these terms.


The following example depicts how Joe Unser might perform a simple search to search for knowledge.

Joe Unser wants to search the knowledge database for information about a task he is performing--ordering a new laptop. Joe can perform a simple search for this information by entering a phrase or word in natural query language. He enters the following search criteria: How do I order a new laptop?

This information could be contained in the database in various ways.

Performing advanced searches

The Advanced Search page provides fields that you can use to define additional search criteria and narrow your search results, as follows:

  • Enter more specific search criteria (for example, searching for an exact phrase instead of separate keywords).
  • Provide additional search criteria.

After you set advanced search parameters, the Use Advanced Search Criteria check box appears in the Simple Search page. This enables you to change search words and include advanced search parameters without having to go back to the Advanced Search page.

Managing predefined search criteria

The following buttons are available in the Sources section of the Advanced Search window in the BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management Console:

Add/ModifySaves the knowledge source selections or overwrites your existing preferences.


Clears the current selection and re-applies your preferred sources.

Note: This button is displayed only after you click Add/Modify and save your source preferences for the first time.


Deletes your preferred sources. Thereafter, global search displays results from all available sources.

Note: This button is displayed only after you click Add/Modify and save your source preferences for the first time.

Using your preferred criteria to perform a search

When you perform a simple search or a global search, the Use Preferences check box is displayed next to the Search field. The Use Preferences check box is selected by default and is locked. Search results are limited to the saved sources.

When you perform an advanced search, click Restore to clear the selected sources and re-apply your preferred sources.

 The Use Preferences check box is displayed only if you have saved your source preferences by clicking Add/Modify on the Advanced Search screen.

Understanding search results

Search results are displayed in order based on the relevance score, according to your document viewing permissions. The most relevant result appears at the top of your results list. The number of search results that match your search criteria is displayed above the search results list. At the bottom of the list, you can click Previous or Next to navigate among the result pages.

Search results are distinguishable by the icon that represents their knowledge type.


Knowledge type

Knowledge base item — A knowledge source that is retrieved from an existing Action Request System form or from an external file system. If required, BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management can keep and manage the metadata of this source. For knowledge base items retrieved from an existing Action Request System form, BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management can maintain life-cycle management.

Searchable item — A knowledge source for which BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management does not keep or manage metadata or life cycle.

Search result relevance

When a search is performed, articles are displayed in the search results according to the article relevance for the search criteria. Article relevance is calculated using the following details:

  • Search criteria — According to the number of times that the search criteria was found in an article, the number of words in a searched phrase, and the order of words in a searched phrase.
  • Article boost parameter — Increases relevance when an article was found useful or viewed by users, as follows:
    • Use — You indicate that an article is useful to you by clicking the Use button that is available for that article.
    • View — You open an article for viewing from the search result list.
      Use and View actions are calculated individually, according to configured settings.

    When recalculated for a Published article, the boost parameter is also recalculated for any Draft article that has been created from the Published article. Therefore, the relevance of the Draft remains identical to that of the Published article.

Using the search results

After you perform a search, you can click a result to open it in the Display view, which displays the result in read-only mode. You can perform the following tasks, according to your permissions:

  • Click Use if the information is useful to you.
    Selecting this option creates a relationship if the article is opened from an Incident, Problem, or Known error record. The relevancy of the article is updated, and the article is visible in the Relationships tab of the Incident, Problem or Known error record.
  • Click Advanced View to open the article.

Visibility groups

BMC Helix ITSM: Knowledge Management uses visibility groups to restrict access to knowledge base content. You can specify the audience for your article by assigning one or more visibility groups to the article.

You can assign a maximum of 350 visibility groups to a knowledge article.

A user with unrestricted access can view all the articles irrespective of visibility groups the user belongs to, or the permissions the user has.

When you create a new article, the system does not assign any visibility group. By default, when you save an article with no visibility groups assigned, the article is accessible to the following users:

  • Article's assignee support group
  • Article's owner support group
  • AR Administrator
  • Users with unrestricted access

When you change an article's company and a visibility group or groups are already assigned to the article, the group or groups remain assigned for the new company. You can change the assignments as described in the following procedure.

When you change the article's company and no visibility groups are assigned to it, the article remains with no visibility group for the new company. By default, the article can be accessed by the support groups of the article's assignee and owner.

To view an article, a user must belong to a support group that is mapped to a visibility group that, in turn, is assigned to the article. The following is a graphical representation of how you can make an article visible to a user:

Consider the following scenario:

Calbro has two support groups, Front Office and Back Office. Currently, the VG1 visibility group is mapped to the Back Office support group. VG1 is assigned to the KA1 knowledge article. User 3, who is a member of Front Office support group, needs to view KA1. An administrator provides User 3 visibility to KA1 by using either of the following two methods:

  • Method 1—Add the user to a support group that is mapped to a visibility group that, in turn, is assigned to the article. For information about adding users to a Support Group, see Support groups and data access Open link .
    In the above example, VG1 is assigned to KA1. To make KA1 visible to User 3, the administrator adds User 3 to the Back Office support group that is mapped to VG1.
  • Method 2—Create a new visibility group that is mapped to the support group to which the user belongs. Assign the new visibility group to the knowledge article.
    In the above example, User 3 belongs to the Front Office support group. The administrator configures a new visibility group VG2, mapped to Front Office support group, and assigns VG2 to KA1. Now, all users belonging to Front Office support group can view KA1.

For more information, see Restricting access to knowledge base content by configuring visibility groups.

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