Speed up your analysis: Tips & tricks for the search bar
The smart search bar is your secret weapon in Metopio. You can use it to bring up any data you want, immediately.

By Jonathan Giuffrida

Published Feb. 21, 2020


In our experience, as users become more comfortable on Metopio, they rely more and more on the universal search bar to find what they're looking for.

2020 02 search bar Open the search bar from any page by clicking on it. It suggests a few things you could search for.

What you can search for

All places and topics in Metopio are searchable from this tool, including your own custom regions or custom data. When you start typing a search, the search bar shows you the best matches. For instance, if you start typing ma:

2020 02 search bar ma

It brings up the best-matching places (like Massachusetts) and topics (like Married or Medicare data).

Searches are automatically sorted by relevance, and places are automatically sorted by their population, since the largest places are most likely to be searched for. Here's a search for ne:

2020 02 search bar ne

Notice that Nebraska floats to the top of the list, even though New York City is larger. This is because NE is Nebraska's postal code, so it's the single best match for your search.

When you got started on Metopio, you may have noticed some cryptic three-letter codes throughout the site. Every topic is uniquely identified by a three-letter code so that you can find it more easily. For instance, "Median rent price" is RNT, while "Rent-burdened" is RBU and "Renter-occupied housing units" is HUR. Sometimes these codes are obvious, sometimes not, but they help you find exactly what you're looking for. By typing a three-letter key into the search bar, the topic you want will float to the top:

2020 02 search bar rent Renton, Washington? I wanted rent prices!

2020 02 search bar rnt Ah, there it is.

In addition to places and topics, you can search for the following:

  • Your own custom regions
  • Geographic layers like counties, neighborhoods, or legislative districts
  • Topic categories and themes
  • Data sources
  • Metopio Help Center Q&A
  • Definitions of statistical terms, like "regression" or "margin of error"
  • Metopio blog posts and tutorials
  • Your teams
  • Insights created by you or your colleagues

Human-language searches

Metopio runs on a machine. Technically it's a whole bunch of machines, but they all speak machine-speak to each other, and get annoyed when we interrupt their conversation with human questions like "Why isn't the wifi working?". We've created some easy ways to translate your human thoughts into machine-speak to make them happier and save you a lot of time.

Create a chart or map from the search bar

For instance, you can jump right into a visualization by searching for "a topic in a place". Try it out:

2020 02 search bar food access in austin Metopio suggests several ways to interpret what you typed. Pick the one that's closest to what you want.

This takes you right to:

You have the choice to open each visualization in either a chart or a map. You don't even have to type the full name or keyword - Metopio will search based on what you have. Foo in Aust would work just as well.

Extra credit: If you search in in in, what are you making a visualization of?

Create a scatterplot from the search bar

If you're really enterprising, you can open a scatterplot of two or three topics you want to see side-by-side. Just use they keyword and between them. Each of your search terms will select the best-matching topic, and the scatterplot will open at the county level (you can then choose a different layer).

2020 02 search bar internet and lex Once you know the codes, you can search www and lex to get the same result. If you search internet and life expectancy and voter, it would use the Voter Participation Rate VTR as the size of the bubbles instead of Population.

Extra credit: Does the scatterplot produced by and and and show a significant correlation?

2020 02 search bar and and and I can't believe this works.

Tips and tricks

  • Capitalization doesn't matter in any searches.
  • Your searches can find topics and places based on their descriptions or keywords, not only their names.
  • You don't have to press ENTER - Metopio will search as you type.
  • Once your search results are showing, pressing ENTER will select the highlighted result.
  • You can hold CTRL and click on a search result to open it in a new tab, rather than in your current tab.