This search tool is created to give you as much power as possible. This tool provides you with great flexibility however it comes at the cost of being a bit complex. Once you learn the basics you'll appreciate the power.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you can't break anything by playing around with this tool.
Let's say that you don't even know what vendors the government buys from. You're going to want to use the SELECT VENDOR button. From there you get an alphabetic choice of A - Z. You can browse through the different names. If you find one you want that peaks your interest you can just click the blue link with their name, then the search engine automatically takes you back to the search engine with that vendor name already in the search box, now CLICK MAKE SEARCH STRING, then click RUN SEARCH.
If you want to search for another vendor, make sure to click CLEAR before choosing another vendor.
THIS SECTION IS CURRENTLY BEING EDITED!
Lets say that you want to know what your school principal is spending their money on. Then just click the SELECT SPENDER button and find their name on that extensive list of the SPENDERS. When you find their name on the list click on it and it will return to the query tool with the selected name in the name text box. Click the MAKE SEARCH STRING button and Click RUN SEARCH and you'll get a summary of everything that your principal has been purchasing with credit cards for the time frame selected.
More advanced use of the Query Tool. Let's say that you noticed that the Office Depot is a regularly used vendor and you would like to know how much is spent on all OFFICE DEPOTS. Then just type in OFFICE DEPOT in the merchant text box and click on Make Search String. The click on RUN SEARCH and you get a big unordered list so try typing in the following phrase and the end of the query in the text area "order by amount" without the quotes and a space between it and the last character already there. You'll get a list which is ordered such that the lowest amounts come first and if you add "desc" so that it becomes "order by amount desc" then you get to see the big spenders on the list first because desc mean descending (starting with the big and getting smaller).
Okay here's a real interesting one. Let's say you want to get all of the records in the database that have the words breakfast, lunch or dinner in the description. Enter this into the description text box. breakfast~~~lunch~~~dinner the ~ is a tilde. We use three in a row because you almost never will encounter three tildes in a row in normal text. Click the Make Search String.
If you sometimes see records that appear to be the same and you want someway of knowing whether they are or not. The add the term pkid as shown below. PKID is unique for every record in a given table. If the PKID's are different then the records are different.