Search Methods and Operators


Use these search operators to refine your results when you don’t know specific keywords, phrases or criteria for the document you are looking for.

Quick Search
Advanced Search Page
Email Search
Search Results
Search Methods and Operators
Search Fields
Understanding Search Criteria Syntax
Creating Saved Searches
Special Searches

Phrase Search

Use quotation marks to search for a phrase (two or more words). For example, "United States" will search for this word combination wherever the two words appear together. Wildcards cannot be used within a phrase. 

Parentheses are special characters that are reserved for search syntax operations. They cannot be used in any search criteria unless there is both an open and close parenthesis in the string.

Exact Search

Use { } to designate an exact search. This means the criteria within the { } brackets for that field will be searched exactly.  This can only be used in a custom profile field, and cannot be used in an Everything search.

For example, when selecting a custom profile value from a lookup table on the Advanced Search page, the exact search brackets { } will automatically be inserted because it is searching for exactly that term:


In this case, this search will not return documents with 183523, or 1835-001, or 01835.

Proximity Search

IBM w/4 HP – (you can drop the w and use /4 such as IBM /4 HP also). This search finds IBM within 4 words of HP. Using wildcards with proximity searches may not always return results when including commonly used words. 

NOTE: Boolean searching is not supported when also using a proximity search. 


Use an * as a wildcard representing one or more characters when searching a character string. See examples below.

document*  – would find documents, documented, etc.

doc*  – would find any term that starts with doc.

*port - would find any term that ends with port. (transport, import, export, etc.)

Use ? as a single character replacement wildcard. See examples below.

f?st – would find the word fast or fest or fist, etc.

Anders?n – would find all spelling variations of the name Anderson.

NOTE: It is recommended that you use one wildcard at a time in a given search field. If you use more than one you will likely see the following message.


This message means that the scope of the search is simply too large to complete within an acceptable time frame. Narrow your search criteria by removing multiple wildcards. 

You cannot use multiple wildcard searches in multiple search fields. You can only use wildcards in one search field at a time. 

If using a wildcard, the wildcard must be preceded or followed by at least two characters. Otherwise, you will receive this message: 


Boolean Operators

Boolean operators can be used as described below. Boolean logic consists of three logical operators: OR, AND, NOT. As an example, if you wanted to search for anything with Settlement Agreement and John Doe, but not Jane Doe you would enter the following: 

"settlement agreement" "john doe" NOT "jane doe"

In the example above, we automatically use logic as follows: (a + b) – c. If you wanted to use the same syntax, it would work also, however if you do not, we implicitly insert the syntax.

OR logic is most commonly used to search for synonymous terms or concepts. OR logic collates the results to retrieve all the unique records containing one term, the other, or both. The more terms or concepts you combine in a search with OR logic, the more records you will retrieve. OR logic is used implicitly between search strings. Suppose you wish to find all documents about document management ( document management ) but you want to avoid seeing documents that contain "knowledge management." Because the terms can be related, some documents could include both.

AND operators require that all criteria be met. For example, ( cats AND dogs ) means that only documents that contain both "cats" and "dogs" will be found. The more terms or concepts you combine in a search with AND logic, the fewer records you will retrieve. Suppose you wish to find all documents about document management ( document AND management ) but you want to avoid seeing documents that contain "knowledge management" you may want to use the NOT operator. 

In a NOT search you will retrieve documents where only one of the terms is present. NOT logic excludes records from your search results. Be careful when you use NOT: the term you do want may be present in an important way in documents that also contain the word you wish to avoid.

NOT is most useful in the simple search box or the Everything field where you can use it between fields. For example, if you wanted to find all documents that contain the word "Agreement" in the name but want to exclude any Saved Searches that have "Agreement" in their names, you must use the search syntax " =3( agreement ) NOT =11( ndsq )".  

Note that you have to have a space before the = sign for it to work.

NOT is not a unitary search operator, meaning it requires two search terms, one on either side. So from Advanced Search you cannot type "NOT doc", rather, you should type "wpd NOT doc". The example above works because by default, the "11" field searches all file types unless otherwise specified.


For words where it is available, the search engine will also include variations of a word by checking the following box on the Advanced Search page. Remember, this only applies when searching in the full-text Everything field. 

Include alternate word forms (Search all fields)

This feature will find, for example, mouse when searching mice. Generally this will work with plural forms of a word.  It may not include all variations of every word. 

NOTE: Lemmatization is not available unless you are using the Everything field.