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I'd love to see the approximate number of matches found for a search from the "Search" box. This would be useful to determine the effect of your search terms - did they, or did they not, narrow down the search?

This would be especially useful now that we have the new search operators.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would suggest something like this:

alt text

In my opinion it's an important information that is missing in the search feature.

The Scent of Search by Tyler Tate * includes the following recommendation **:

Indicate the number of results. This helps users gage the validity of their search. Numerous results can act as a vote of confidence, while few results may raise a red flag.

* I obviously have no idea on who this guy is
** Ok, It's a compelling answer on ui.stackexchange.com

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You get an approximate count as there's the page count and number of posts per page at the foot of every page of search results.

However, you do have to scroll down to see it - so having the numbers at the top of the page would be more useful.

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I think he means word matches, per question. –  Brad Gilbert Aug 18 '09 at 21:03
    
We need a number at the top instead of scrolling down. Matches over 500 (10 pages x 50) will give 10 pages for paging so you never can know if it 550 matches or 5500 matches. The algorithm already knows how many matches, SHOW IT! –  Tony_Henrich Apr 28 '10 at 21:17
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This is a bit of a hack, but if you set pagesize to 1, you can see the number of results by just looking at the number of pages listed.

This isn't entirely convenient, but it is the only way I can find to do a single query to determine the number of accepted answers by tag.

For example, this query shows that a certain user has 842 accepted answers on the java tag:

http://stackoverflow.com/search?q=user%3a22656%20accepted%3a1%20%5bjava%5d&pagesize=1

(Enter this search term: user:225656 accepted:1 [java], then append &pagesize=1)

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This has been completed and will go live tonight.

A search count will appear in the upper-right (exactly like tag pages) in the next build, above the current search info that appears on the right now (this remains unchanged, aside from being moved down to fit the count).

As an aside, there are other improvements to the "no-results" page that'll show up in this build as well.

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thanks. I just wonder why it took so long. –  John Saunders Feb 16 '11 at 20:38
    
@John - search is just getting a lot of love recently, and we're making some other changes - that you hopefully won't see :) Also the count wasn't very useful until the engine change, since the number of returned results in a search was quite low (we didn't keep fetching after n pages). Now we preload 5000 results, so the number's more useful. As an aside, the count will also appear next to suggested searches when you get a "no results" page, so you can see how narrow those searches would be. –  Nick Craver Feb 16 '11 at 20:54
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