Using Full Text Search in SQL Server 2008


SQL Server 2008 Full-Text Search feature can be used by application developers to execute full-text search queries against character based data residing in  a SQL Server table. To use full text search the developer must create a full-text index for the table against which they want to run full-text search queries. For a particular SQL Server Table or Indexed View you can create a maximum of one Full-Text Index. The full-text index can be created for columns which use any of the following data types – CHAR, NCHAR, VARCHAR, NVARCHAR, TEXT, NTEXT, VARBINARY, VARBINARY (MAX), IMAGE and XML.
Each full-text index can be used to index one or more columns from the base table, and each column can have a specific language which is supported by SQL Server 2008 Full-Text Search. Full-Text Search in SQL Server 2008 supports more than 50 different languages such as Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese and Spanish etc.

For the complete list of supported full-text languages, run the   below   TSQL query.

Use master


SELECT * FROM sys.fulltext_languages ORDER BY name ASC


Installing Full-Text Search

The Full-Text Search feature of SQL Server 2008 is an optional component the Database Engine and as a result this feature is not installed by default. During SQL Server 2008 Installation, the database administrator needs to select the Full-Text Search feature as shown   below :

In case   Full-Text feature is not available on the server then the DBA can install this feature by running the SQL Server 2008 setup   again and  selecting the “New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add feature to an existing installation” option under Installation   (as  shown below).

If you are new to SQL Server 2008 and would like to know how to steps which you need to follow in order to install SQL Server 2008 then please review the Steps to install SQL Server 2008 article.

Once the  full-text search feature is successfully installed on the  server you will be able to see SQL Full-text Filter Daemon Launcher service in the SQL Server 2008 Configuration Manager. Make sure this service is started before attempting to use Full-Text Search or the queries will fail.

Steps to Configure a Database for Full-Text Search

Configure Full Text Search for a particular table with in a database by following the below steps. In this article we will examine each step in detail.

  • Create a Full-Text Catalog
  • Create a Full-Text Index

  • Populate a Full-Text Index

Create a Full-Text Catalog

Once you are connected to the SQL Server 2008 instance expand Databases node >   AdventureWorks database > Storage . Right click Full Text Catalogs and select New Full-Text Catalog… from the drop down link as shown   below   to create a Full-Text Catalog for the  AdventureWorks database.

In New Full-Text Catalog screen, you need to mention the name as AdventureWorksFullTextCatalog for Full-text Catalog. Next you need specify DBO as the owner for this catalog and finally click OK to save and to create AdventureWorksFullTextCatalog Full-text catalog as shown in the below snippet.

Once the Full-Text catalog is created successfully, it will be visible under the Full Text Catalogs   shown   below.


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