Pablo Benvenuto

PI 101, Module 6: Tag Search

Discussion created by Pablo Benvenuto Champion on Sep 28, 2012

While the prefer way of searching for PI Data is using PI AF, you can also do Tag searches the old fashion way.

Tag Search

This is one of the most common functions that users will perform. There are three types of search:



Basic and Advanced do the same thing, just in different ways. Basic allows you to search using common criteria through a defined menu. Advanced allows you to search using a SQL like syntax. They both produce the same results.

Note: Alias Search uses the PI Module Database (MDB). The PI MDB is no longer used as the main asset structure for most applications beginning with PI Server 2010. Users should use the PI AF Explorer to find data.

Most of the tag searches will be filtered in one of three ways: Tag Mask, Descriptor or Point Source.

Tag Mask

This can also be called Tag Name. If your organization has a convenient naming convention or you are very familiar with the tags in your plant, then your job of searching will be easier. However, most people do not have that luxury. Most of us have to use some other criteria.


Descriptor is not a required tag attribute, but it is the one that many people use to find their tags. For example, a temperature tag might be TC365674A.pv but the descriptor might be read as Reactor 65 Operating Temp. The downside to searching by Descriptor is that it is comparing text strings, and so can be fairly intensive on your computer processes.

Point Source

Point Source can be extremely helpful, but it does require certain knowledge of the PI System and how the interfaces have been set up. Each device interface will be labeled with a specific Point Source. So if you know what device you want data from, but you are not sure what the tag names are, you can bring up a list of all of the tags that are associated with that device.


Remember that wildcards can be used in any of the above searches.

Use * to replace any number of characters like in this example:

cd*158 = CDEP158, CDM158, CDT158

Use ? to replace one character like in this example:

cd?158 = CDM158, CDT158
cd??158 = CDEP158

Review Questions


Using the Tag Search option in one of your client tools, conduct a tag search to become familiar with your PI System. You can start by conducting a basic search for tags with a tag mask *. This will return all the tags in the PI Server that you are connected to. How many tags were returned? Do you recognized some of the tag names? Narrow your search by using the wildcards * and ?. Can you find tags for some of the processes or equipment you work with? Share the total number of tags that you found in your PI System in this thread. What is your guess on the largest PI System by tag count?

Go to Module 7 or back to the Workshop Outline.


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