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Kalen Delaney

Did You Know? You can search the web-only Books Online

You might be aware (from other bloggers on this site) that there is a new web-only Books Online for SQL Server 2008 available at 

Like Tibor, I prefer a downloadable BOL, partly because I do a lot of research and writing while traveling and I don't always have an internet connection, like at 42,000 ft (~14000m) above the Atlantic Ocean.

However, I need the latest documentation while I am finishing up my book, so I decided to start using it today, now that I am back from my travels to the UK. However, I discovered another reason while I like the desktop copy of BOL better and that is the searching functionality. The web-only BOL only has the search box to search the ENTIRE MSDN site, and it's not nearly as convenient as the search capabilities in the local documentation.

To my delight, I just found out from Alan Brewer, from the SQL Documentation Team,  that Microsoft has a nice search macro to help limit your search on MSDN to just SQL Server 2008 topics:

It's still not as nice as the local searching, but since web-only is all we have for now, for the most recent BOL, it's definitely a good thing.

There is also a 2005 online search macro at:


Have fun!


Published Tuesday, November 11, 2008 6:22 PM by Kalen Delaney

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aspiringgeek said:

Dittos, Kalen, re: the utility of a downloadable version of BOL.

However, the scoped version has served me well, e.g., when I'm at a customer site & only the RTM version is available yet I need the information from the new! improved! latest-&-greatest BOL.

BOL is vastly under-utilized by many customers.  In my boilerplate I include a section devoted to BOL including essential links.

Thanks for sharing this great tip!

November 12, 2008 10:50 AM

YSLGuru said:


Do you know if Microsoft has any plans to change the interface of the Document Explorer platform/interface (whatever the term is) that the BOL info is presented in?  I ask because currently it is extremly limited in what one can do.  Short of adding something as a favorite their is no customization or options to speak of.  Personally I'd like to see Wikki like options where a user can organize faborites in BOL and annotate or markup the info so as to add info (like meta data) to any part of BOL.  At my company there are less then half a dozen of us who work with SQL so we aren't large enough to warrant putting together something ourselves or paying for something custom and just big enough that info sharing via emial isn't that effecient.



November 12, 2008 6:49 PM

jerryhung said:

More directly, the SQL 2005 Books Online search is at

I wonder at times whether to install BOL on servers or not, or just at client side :P

November 13, 2008 3:40 PM

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