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How to

The search box in the top right of every Houdini help page lets you search the help. Just click and start typing.

Word searches

Type the words you want to search for, separated by spaces.

render quality

Boolean searches

By default, the search results only show documents that match all the words you type (an “AND” search). You can use AND, OR, NOT, and parentheses to do boolean searches.

render AND (quality OR time) NOT shadow

Phrase searches

To search for a phrase (a series of words next to each other), put the phrase in quotation marks.

"render quality"

Prefix searches

To search for all words beginning with a certain prefix, add an asterisk (*) to the end of the word.


(Note that the search automatically expands word stems, so searching for renders also finds occurances of render, rendering, rendered, and so on.)


You can quickly search only certain types of pages by typing a “shortcut” in the search box along with the words to search for.

For example, to search for SOP docs containing the word brush:

!s brush

You can configure your own shortcuts in the file HOUDINIPATH/config/Help/bookish.cfg like this:

        "shortcut": "xs",
        "desc": "Our custom SOPs",
        "query": "namespace:xyzcorp context:sop"
        "shortcut": "xd",
        "desc": "Our custom DOPs",
        "query": "namespace:xyzcorp context:dop"

See below for how to create useful shortcut queries.

Field searches

Title and content

The search indexes several different “fields” for each document, such as the title, the content, and each document’s type (such as node). Normally when you type a word, the search looks for the word in the title and content fields. However, you can search for words in other fields by prepending a word (or phrase) with the name of a field and a colon, for example:



The type field is useful for filtering results.

  • type:node

  • type:expression

  • type:hscript

  • type:vex

  • type:hommethod

  • type:homclass

  • type:property

For example, if you're looking for HScript commmand docs containing the word shader:

shader type:hscript


The context field is used for both the network type of node documentation, and the context of vex functions. For example, to search for the word copy only in the node documentation of surface nodes:

copy type:node context:sop

To search for the word light only in VEX functions that are available in the “surface” context:

light type:vex context:surface

Other fields

Some other fields that might be useful for searching:

  • tags

  • path (For example, path:/ref/panes/*)

  • namespace

  • version

  • parent

How to use the help


Documenting nodes

Running a central help server