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Entering the word "All" will find documents containing the word "all" but not "allegorical." You can use wildcards to broaden the scope of the search. "All*" will return documents containing both "all" and "alliterate." Case is ignored.

You can enter multiple words separated by commas: software, Microsoft, Oracle. The comma is treated like a logical OR. If you omit the commas, the query expression is treated as a phrase, so documents would be searched for the phrase "software Microsoft Oracle."

Operators are normally surrounded by angle brackets < >. However, you can use the AND, OR, and NOT operators without using angle brackets: software AND (Microsoft OR Oracle). To include an operator in a search, you surround it with double quotation marks: software "and" Microsoft. This expression searches for the phrase "software and Microsoft."

Explicit query expressions

Explicit queries can be constructed using a variety of operators. Most operators in an explicit query expression are surrounded by angle brackets < >. You can use the AND, OR, and NOT operators without angle brackets.


You can use either simple or explicit syntax when stating simple query syntax.

Operator summary

An operator represents logic to be applied to a search element. This logic defines the qualifications a document must meet to be retrieved. Operator types are as follows:

Ordinarily, you use operators in explicit searches. They are used in the following manner:



The following wildcard characters are available for searching:

Wildcard Characters
Wildcard Description
? Question. Specifies any single alphanumeric character.
* Asterisk. Specifies zero or more alphanumeric characters. Avoid using the asterisk as the first character in a search string. Asterisk is ignored in a set, [ ] or an alternative pattern { }.
[ ] Square brackets. Specifies one of any character in a set, as in "sl[iau]m" which locates "slim," "slam," and "slum." Square brackets indicate an implied OR.
{ } Curly braces. Specifies one of each pattern separated by a comma, as in "hoist{s, ing, ed}" which locates "hoists," "hoisting," and "hoisted." Curly braces indicate an implied AND.
^ Caret. Specifies one of any character not in the set as in "sl[^ia]m" which locates "slum" but not "slim" or "slam."
- Hyphen. Specifies a range of characters in a set as in "c[a-r]t" which locates every word beginning with "c," ending with "t," and containing any letter from "a" to "r."

Searching for wildcards as literals

To search for a wildcard character in your collection, you need to escape the character with a backslash (\). For example:

To match a literal asterisk, you precede the * with two backslashes: "a\\*"

To match a question mark or other wildcard character: "Checkers\?"

Searching for special characters as literals

The following non-alphanumeric characters must be preceded by a backslash character (\) in a search string:

In addition to the backslash character, you can use paired backquotes (` `) to interpret special characters as literals. For example, to search for the wildcard string "a{b" you can surround the string with backquotes, as follows:


To search for a wildcard string that includes the literal backquote character (`) you must use two backquotes together and surround the whole string in backquotes:


Note that you can use either paired backquotes or backslashes to escape special characters. There is no functional difference in the use of one or the other. For example, you can query for the term: <DDA> in the following ways:

\<DDA\> or `<DDA>`

Proximity operators

Proximity operators specify the relative location of specific words in the document. Specified words must be in the same phrase, paragraph, or sentence for a document to be retrieved. In the case of NEAR and NEAR/N operators, retrieved documents are ranked by relevance based on the proximity of the specified words. Proximity operators can be nested; phrases or words can appear within SENTENCE or PARAGRAPH operators, and SENTENCE operators can appear within PARAGRAPH operators.

The following table describes each operator:

Proximity Operators
Operator Description
NEAR Selects documents containing specified search terms. The closer the search terms are to one another within a document, the higher the document's score. The document with the smallest possible region containing all search terms always receives the highest score. Documents whose search terms are not within 1000 words of each other are not selected.
NEAR/N Selects documents containing two or more search terms within N number of words of each other, where N is an integer between 1 and 1024 where NEAR/1 searches for two words that are next to each other. The closer the search terms are within a document, the higher the document's score.

You can specify multiple search terms using multiple instances of NEAR/N as long as the value of N is the same:

commute <NEAR/10> bicycle <NEAR/10>
train <NEAR/10>
PARAGRAPH Selects documents that include all of the words you specify within the same paragraph. To search for three or more words or phrases, you must use the PARAGRAPH operator between each word or phrase.
PHRASE Selects documents that include a phrase you specify. A phrase is a grouping of two or more words that occur in a specific order. Examples of phrases:
mission oak
"mission oak"
mission <PHRASE> oak
<PARAGRAPH> (mission, oak)
SENTENCE Selects documents that include all of the words you specify within the same sentence. Examples:
jazz <SENTENCE> musician
<SENTENCE> (jazz, musician)