# Search, Find, Help – How to Cope with Stata

Stata offers some features to retrieve information about commands, procedures, etc.

help tabulate

will open the help file for the tabulate command.

search normal distribution

searches for the keyword normal distribution. Typically, Stata will search its keyword database and will show you pieces (help files and other sources) in which the normal distribution is mentioned.
Note that there is no Stata command normal distribution. However, should you type help normal distribution, Stata will answer that no help file exists on this topic and will ask you whether you would like Stata to do a search on the keyword "normal distribution".

hsearch normal distribution

searches all help files for the words normal distribution. That is, not only the keywords are searched, but the search is extended to the help files as such, no matter whether there is a keyword normal distribution or not. Thus, hsearch will yield more hits. The price to pay is that the search takes longer.

findit fre

findit searches even more sources. However, findit is particularly apt for installing additional commands (typically available as so called ado files), as it will show you sources from which these files can be downloaded. fre is one of these.

Note: Do not mix up these commands with lookfor. The latter command searches the variable names in your data file.

© W. Ludwig-Mayerhofer, Stata Guide | Last update: 27 Jan 2012