Search for Text Patterns in the Navigate and Legacy Events Views

You can search for text patterns within the current set of events in the Navigate view, the Events view, and the Legacy Events view. This section provides information about searching in the Navigate view and the Legacy Events view.

You can perform a keyword text search or do regex (Regular Expression) matching. In the Navigate view, you can click a meta value, such as HTTP, to drill into the data and then enter a search string in the Search field to search for events within that subset of data. The search opens a tab in the Legacy Events view, brings your drill and time range forward, and shows your search results. You can also drill into the data using queries before starting a search. To execute the search, enter a search string in the Search box, and press Enter or click Search.

Note: By default search results are only for exact matches found in indexed data. Only meta values shown as blue links in the Events Detail view are indexed. The regex option must be selected if the value contains a space. To broaden the search change the options in the Search Events drop-down menu.

Keyword Text Search

The text search provides these capabilities:

  • Each white space delimited word is ANDed, so that every word must be found, but the order or location position in relation to the other words is irrelevant. For example, if you search on Mark Albert, both Mark and Albert must be found in the session, but they need not be together or in any specific order.
  • The word OR is special. If you search Mark OR Albert, either Mark or Albert must be found in the session to match; both are not required.
  • You can mix or match implicit ANDs and ORs together in the search string. The explicit OR has higher precedence than the implicit (whitespace) AND. The following examples make the same logical statement, which requires that both the terms cheese and dumplings be present in a match and one of toast or bread:
    cheese toast OR bread dumplings
    cheese AND (toast OR bread) AND dumplings
  • You can exclude words from search results using the - operator. For example, searching for cheese -toast would return any result that has the word cheese, unless the word toast is also present.
  • The keyword search can match metadata stored in the following patterns:
    • IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Any term that can be recognized as an IP address is converted to the native metadata format so that it can be found in indexed metadata.
    • IPv4 CIDR ranges. You can use CIDR notation to locate IPv4 addresses within a range.
    • Timestamps. Timestamps are matched against the native time metadata, and any additional time meta fields stored with the Time type.
    • Numbers. The search function will attempt to automatically identify decimal search terms and match them against numeric meta data fields.

Options Controlling Search Behavior

To access the Search box and search options in the Navigate or Legacy Events view:

  1. You can see the Search Events field in the toolbar.

    Note: If you cannot see the Search Events field in the toolbar, click netwitness_ic-more.png on the right side of the toolbar.

  2. Click in the Search Events field to view the Search Options drop-down menu. In Version 11.2 and later, the menu options are slightly different. The first figure illustrates the menu for 11.1 and below; the second figure illustrates the menu for Version 11.2 and above.


The options selected in this box change how the search is executed. The default search mode is to search indexed metadata and raw data only.

Note: Because the Index or Indexed Metadata Only (default) checkbox is selected by default, the search returns results based on data that is indexed. If you want to search for a complete set of metadata or raw data, select those checkboxes and clear the Index or Indexed Metadata Only (default) checkbox. This type of search takes longer, but it contains a more complete set of data.

The following table describes the Investigation search options.

Feature Description

Indexed Metadata Only (default) checkbox (Version 11.2 and later)

Index radio button (Version 11.1)

This search only returns results on indexed data. Searching the index is the fastest way to locate keywords within a large data set. The index search uses any relevant indexes present within your data collection.

Caution: Substring matches are not located by index searches. If you require substring matches, clear this checkbox and use a non-index search mode.

All Metadata radio button (Version 11.2)

Meta checkbox (Version 11.1)

Searches the metadata. Your keyword or regex pattern is matched against any parsed metadata.

All Raw radio button (Version 11.2 and later)

RAW (Network/Log/Endpoint) checkbox (Version 11.1)

Searches the network, log, and endpoint event text. Every event is decoded and content is searched for matches on the keyword or regex pattern.
If you select all data with no filters on an Archiver, execution time may be excessive and a warning may be displayed.

Caution: Searching raw network sessions causes sessions to be decoded, which is very time intensive. You may want to disable raw searches when looking at network-only collections.

All Metadata and Raw radio button (Version 11.2) Searches the metadata and the log or event text. This option is a combination of two options in Version 11.1: Meta and RAW (Network/Log/Endpoint), which you could select together. In Version 11.2, you can select only one radio button.
Case Insensitive Ignores case when searching.
Regular Expression Searches using a Perl regular expression, rather than text. By default executes a text search. To execute a regular expression search, select the Regular Expression option.

- Regular expression searches can be very slow.
- When combining regular expressions and index search options, the regular expression pattern is matched against unique index values instead of meta values. This produces results faster, but it is not an exhaustive search of all the metadata or raw data.

Apply Sets the default search options to apply to a search in the Navigate and Legacy Events views. This also updates your Investigation preferences in your Profile (Profile > Preferences > Investigation tab). The preferences are saved and effective immediately.
You can select search options to use for a particular search without changing your default search preferences.

Regular Expression Search Syntax

A regular expression search uses Perl regular expression syntax, which is documented in detail in

Raw Text Keyword Search

The Log Decoder has the capability to create a raw text index for unparsed log events. This functionality creates metadata items that form a full-text index on downstream services such as Concentrators and Archivers. When you enable the Search Indexes option in your search preferences, your search automatically uses the text index. Note that the text index produces meta items that have a coarse granularity. For example, the default text indexer configuration truncates text terms. By comparing the index matches against raw data, the search engine will find accurate results for your search. However, you can improve search times by disabling the raw search checkbox. If you do so, results will be returned faster, but you may see false positive hits in your search results.

Search Procedures

Search in the Navigate View

To search within the currently displayed data in the Navigate view:

  1. Type a search string in the Search field and press Enter or click Search.
  2. To clear the search box and return to the previous Navigate view with results unfiltered by the search, click the X in the search box.

Search in the Legacy Events View

To search within the currently displayed data in the Legacy Events view:

  1. Type a search string in the Search box, and press Enter or click Search.
    The search results are displayed. Events that match the search criteria are displayed in the events list. In the Details view and List view, matches are highlighted in the Details column. In addition, when searching RAW, matches are highlighted in the Log view Logs column.
  2. If you want to narrow the search, change the query and time.
  3. If you want to stop the search and return to the Legacy Events view, click Cancel.
    Any results that are displayed remain.
  4. To clear the search box and return to the normal Events view, click X in the search box.