Thanks to everyone who has responded. After reading everyone's response, I think I have a very simple way to solve my "problem".

Using my original example, if someone wants to find item # 4D-2448-7PS, no matter what they type in, I'll take the input, strip out all non-alphanumeric characters to make it 4D24487PS, add the wildcard character between each of the remaining characters like so, 4*D*2*4*4*8*7*P*S, and then do the search.

Still being new at this, it seems to be the simplest approach, or is my thinking flawed? This also keeps me from having to add another field in the db to search on.

BTW, this solution needs to work with any db, even ASCII files, so it has to happen in PHP.

Thanks again,

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