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Glossary Search


Category: Glossaries Back to Glossary Manager

Glossary Search is designed to make glossary searching as easy and productive as possible. As soon as your glossary or glossaries are configured, you can use Glossary Search to find the right term and view the corresponding glossary entry(-ies) in the Search window or navigate to an entry row and make changes to it.

How it works

Before you can use Glossary Search in a workbook that contains a glossary, you need to configure such glossary workbook using Glossary Configuration dialogue. The dialogue is activated by running the corresponding command (Glossary Configuration) from TransTools menu, or by clicking Configure... button under the [Options] tab). When the configuration process is complete, the configuration of each configured glossary is created in a hidden worksheet inside the glossary workbook. To finalize the process, simply save the workbook and you will be able to use Glossary Search to find terms at any time while the glossary workbook window is activated in Microsoft Excel.


  • Glossary Search dialogue will remain open until the corresponding glossary workbook is closed. It can be positioned anywhere on your screen so that it does not obstruct visibility of the glossary workbook. You can work with the glossary sheet while the Glossary Search dialogue is open. If you need to switch to a different Excel workbook, the dialogue will be temporarily hidden, and it will be displayed again as soon as you switch to the glossary workbook;
  • You can use Glossary Search on several glossary workbooks which are opened in Microsoft Excel. Just run Glossary Search command after you switch to a different glossary workbook and the search dialogue will be opened;
  • Glossary Search dialogue can be viewed using two layouts: Vertical (screenshot below) and Horizontal (with the entry pane to the right of the search results). The Vertical layout can save space on smaller monitors while the Horizontal layout allows you to see more information;
  • Glossary Search uses four searching algorithms:
    • exact search: it finds all terms that start with the text you type;
    • partial search: it finds all terms that contain the text you type provided that the text occurs at the beginning of a word (i.e. if you have a term 'wind shield' and you look for 'shield', 'wind shield' will be found as a partial match, but if you look for 'hi' it will not be found because 'hi' does not occur at the start of the second word);
    • fuzzy search: it finds all terms that are similar but not identical to the search text. The similarity percentage can be changed under the Searching tab of the Glossary Configuration dialogue. One of the possible uses for this functionality is searching for misspelt terms;
    • wildcard search: this type of search makes it possible to use * and ? wildcard characters to find terms that contain specific text, etc.
  • You can select which glossaries you want to search in;
  • You can view each entry where a found term appears in a configurable format (you can configure the appearance of an entry for each glossary);
  • You can navigate to an entry's row in a glossary worksheet to modify it; and
  • You can use a language filter to specify the translation direction. This is very handy if you work with more than 1 language pair, your glossaries contain more than 2 languages, or the source and target languages have similar alphabets and terms look similar in both languages (e.g. German and English).

System integration

Starting with version 3.2, Glossary Search may be started when you select a word or phrase in any Windows application and press a key combination.

In order to use this feature, TransTools Utilities component must be enabled during installation (enabled by default in the automatic installer). TransTools Utilities will be configured to launch on Windows start-up.

The key combination is configured on the System Integration tab of the Glossary Configuration dialogue. The default key combination is Ctrl+Shift+C.

When you select a word or phrase in any Windows program and press the key combination, Excel will be launched (if not running) or activated (if it is already running). If the Glossary Search dialogue is already displayed, the search will be initiated immediately. If Glossary Search dialogue is not displayed, but a glossary workbook is already active, or a glossary workbook was recently searched, that workbook will be activated and Glossary Search will activate. However, if none of the above works, a default glossary workbook (configured under the System Integration tab of the Glossary Configuration dialogue) is opened and searched. Therefore, it is strongly advised to specify a default glossary workbook in the Glossary Configuration.

Glossary Search interface

The user interface of the Glossary Search dialogue is very similar to other dictionary programs like GoldenDict or ABBYY Lingvo. It contains a search text pane, a search results pane, an entry navigation pane, and additional options. Below is a screenshot of the Glossary Search dialogue (using Vertical layout):

Screenshot: Glossary Search dialogue

  1. Search Text: Type the initial letters that should appear at the very beginning of the sought term (for full matches) or at the start of a specific word inside the term (for partial matches). To clear the text box, click the button on the right.
    Alternatively, if you are sure that the term you are searching for includes specific text, you can use * and ? wildcard characters. For example, you can type *heat* to find terms like 'reheat'. After you type such search text, you will need to click Wildcard Search button below.
  2. Search Results and additional search options: All found matches are displayed in the search results list. If there are any partial matches (where the search text appears at the start of any word in the middle of the term), these will appear after 'Partial matches' separator. To view all entries that contain a found term, select that term in the list.

    There are additional search options which allow you to find more results:
    Fuzzy Search button - click this button to find matches which are similar to the text typed in the search text box. This will find misspelt terms or terms spelt somewhat differently. The similarity percentage can be changed in the Glossary Configuration under the Searching tab. The button will be enabled if the search text is at least 4 characters long.
    Wildcard Search button - this button will be displayed if the search text includes wildcard characters (* or ?). You can use wildcard characters to find terms when you remember only part of the term, especially when the text you remember occurs in the middle of the term.
  3. Search Options: This pane allows you to select which glossaries need to be searched, reload all glossaries if there are any modifications in a glossary sheet, and configure glossaries:

    Screenshot: Options tab of Glossary Search dialogue
    If you want to limit the glossaries to be searched, just deselect a particular glossary in the list.

    Sometimes errors may occur during glossary loading, as indicated by the status bar. The loading status of each glossary is displayed in the right-hand column of the glossary list.
    [OK] means that the glossary was loaded without errors,
    [Not found] means that a previously configured glossary could not be found in the workbook by its configured name (you may have renamed the glossary),
    [Invalid structure] means that column names do not match the configuration (you may have renamed some column headings).

    To reload all glossaries (e.g. after you rename a glossary sheet back to its original name), click Reload.

    To configure glossaries contained in the active workbook, click Settings...
  4. Entry View: This pane contains a formatted representation of all entries where the selected term appears. Each entry is formatted in accordance with the configuration options of the glossary where the entry is located (this is configured using Glossary Configuration command) .
  5. Entry Selection: If you would like to navigate to a row that contains a specific entry, select this entry in the list and click Go.... The first cell of the corresponding row will be selected so you can make the necessary changes to the entry.

    Important note: due to the way Microsoft Excel is designed, you will not be able to undo any changes in a glossary workbook when you navigate to a row using the [Go] button. A future version of Glossary Manager will allow you to see the number of the entry row so you can navigate to an entry manually.
  6. Status Bar: The status bar displays the following information:
    • Number of entries in all loaded glossaries or number of found matches;
    • Message indicating whether you have enabled a glossary filter on the [Options] tab;
    • Current layout button – allows you to display the Glossary Search dialogue in one of the two layouts: Vertical (as above, displaying the entry view pane underneath the search results pane), and Horizontal (with the entry view pane to the right of the search results pane). The Vertical layout is handy if you have a small monitor, so you can work with the glossary workbook and still see the search dialogue. The Horizontal layout allows you to see more information, but it takes more horizontal space;
    • Message indicating whether all glossaries were loaded successfully or some errors occurred. Errors may occur if a glossary worksheet is not found in the workbook by its configured name, or if names of column headings were changed. To view detailed information about the errors that took place, click the right-hand pane of the status bar.
  7. Language Filter: When your glossaries contain more than 2 languages, or the languages have similar alphabets (e.g. German and English), the language filter makes it possible to specify the translation direction so you can search for terms in the right language and see only the right languages in the entry view pane.

    The following parameters can be configured:
    - Source language: select from the list of languages, or select '- All -' if you want to display terms from any language in the search results list;
    - Target language: select from the list of languages, or select '- All -' if you want to display terms from any language in the entry pane;
    - Direction: clicking this button changes between '->' and '<->';
    - Switch source and target languages: click this button to switch the translation direction.

If you want to search a different glossary workbook for terms, just open or switch to that workbook and run the Glossary Search command again.


Developed by Stanislav Okhvat, 2007–2018

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