We love data here at Calcbench, but we also understand the importance of the written word—especially in footnote disclosures, where all the juicy stuff is. So today we will walk through a few points on how to search for specific pieces of text in our databases.
Q: Wait a minute, text searches—we can do that???
A: Yes, you can. Calcbench offers quite a lot of text search functionality; we always have. Lately we’ve been improving how you can search and what you can find; hence this friendly How To post.
Q: OK, so how do I search?
A: For starters, know the text you want to search for. Then go to the Interactive Disclosures page; this is the database crammed full of text-based information. You’ll see a search box on the far right side (circled in blue below) that says “Full Text Search.”
Go to that box, enter your text string, and press Enter or that little magnifying glass logo. It’s that simple.
Q: What do I get after I press Enter?
A: Actually, you can get quite a lot—possibly too much, so you will probably want to refine your search parameters a bit before taking the big Full Text plunge.
Q: Right. I knew that. But, um… why don’t you walk me through those again.
A: For example, if you enter operating leases into the search box without putting the whole term in quotes, you’ll get all results that mention either operating, or leases, or operating leases. Therefore, decide whether you want to search for “operating leases” in quotes to narrow the list of results.
Likewise, our default is to search the disclosures of the Dow Jones Industrial Average companies, in their most recent annual filings (currently for the year 2016). Sometimes you might find another default setting of, say, the S&P 500 or the “Whole Universe” of all filings, or even an industry sector, depending on how you configured your search settings the last time you were on this page.
You can change all of that as you like: search for prior years, search for quarters within those years, search for different industry sectors or a peer group you created yourself—just be aware that all those settings will drive the results you see.
Q: And what about searching specific types of disclosures?
A: You can do that by scanning the pull-down menu on the far right side of the page. That lists all sorts of disclosure types, from standard 10-K disclosures (controls & procedures, MD&A, and so forth); to disclosures on Form 8-K or a proxy statement; to the long, long list of disclosures buried in footnotes.
Once you specify the exact type of disclosure you want, be sure to tick the small check-box under the Full Text Search field, where you’ll see “restrict to specified disclosure type.” That ensures you only see the text you’re searching for, in the exact disclosure type you want.
If you’ve also set the peer group of companies you want to search, and the exact time period—you’ll get the results you want, not a haystack of results with a few good needles in there somewhere.
Q: OK, thank you!
A: Happy to help.