Search Connectors Quick Reference Card

The following tables show all of the connectors and wildcard characters you can use when forming a search query. They are presented in a single topic for easy viewing and printing. (Please note that each table will appear on its own printed page.)

Search Term Connectors

The following term connectors help you define the terms you are searching (or not searching) on.

For information on defining the proximity between your search terms, see Proximity Connectors. Additionally, for information on using wildcard characters in your search terms, see Search Connector Wildcards.

Note: To view all search connectors (term and proximity) and wildcard characters on a single page so you can print a single document, see Search Connectors Quick Reference Card.

 

ConnectorDescriptionExamples
andUse the and connector to find words that are far apart from one another or in different sections. Searches using and usually find more documents than searches using the near connector. As a rule, use and when it doesn't matter where your search words appear in a document. Use the near connector when there is a connection between your search terms and you need to find the terms near each other.
Note: You can use an ampersand (&) in place of and. The two connectors operate the same way.

To find general information about budget deficits, you could use this search:

budget and deficit

However, to find documents that are relevant when your search terms are less specific, you may need to use the near connector. For example, this search will find more relevant documents than if the and connector were used:

fiduciary near/1 duty near/10 breach

and notUse the and not connector to find documents in which a search word or phrase is to be excluded.

You can use these connectors in the same way as the and not connector:

  • andnot
  • but not
  • butnot

All these connectors operate the same way.

This search finds documents where the word capital occurs but the word gains does not.

capital and not gains

Because the exclusion covers the entire document, in this example, a document would be excluded if the word gains appears anywhere in the document.

You can exclude documents containing multiple words this way:

capital and not gains and not improvements

This example finds documents where the word capital occurs but the words gains and improvements do not.

orUse the or connector to find documents that contain either or both of the words or phrases linked by or. Use the or connector to link search words that are synonyms, antonyms, alternative spellings, or abbreviations.

The search looks for the words or phrases linked by the or connector, not the word "or" itself. The words or phrases linked by or can be in any part of a document.

You can use a space in place of or if you wish. The two connectors operate the same way.

Synonyms:

Ship or vessel or boat

Antonyms:

reasonable or unreasonable

Alternatives:

takeover or takeover

Abbreviations:

british broadcasting corporation or b.b.c. or bbc

Proximity Connectors

The following proximity connectors help you define the relationships between terms you are searching on.

For information on connecting your search terms, see Search Term Connectors. Additionally, for information on using wildcard characters in your search terms, see Search Connector Wildcards.

Note: To view all search connectors (term and proximity) and wildcard characters on a single page so you can print a single document, see Search Connectors Quick Reference Card.

 

ConnectorDescriptionExamples
pre/nUse the pre/n connector to find documents in which the first word precedes the second by not more than n words.

This connector is especially useful in situations where a different word order significantly alters meaning. For example, summary judgment is significantly different from judgment summary.

You can use all 3 of these connectors interchangeably:

  • +n
  • onear/n
  • pre/n
This search finds documents where the word overtime precedes compensation within 3 words:

overtime pre/3 compensation

pre/pUse the pre/p connector to find documents in which the first word precedes the second within approximately 75 words of each other.

You can use +p in place of pre/p if you wish. Both commands function the same way.

This search finds documents where the word overtime precedes the word compensation within approximately 75 words:

overtime pre/p compensation

pre/sUse the pre/s connector to find documents in which the first word precedes the second within approximately 25 words of each other.

You can use +s in place of pre/s if you wish. Both commands function the same way.

This search finds documents where the word overtime precedes the word compensation within approximately 25 words:

overtime pre/s compensation

w/n or /nUse the w/n connector to find documents in which the first word appears within n words of the second one.
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same phrase, use w/3 up to w/5
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same sentence, use w/25
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same paragraph, use w/75

Choosing a number greater than or equal to 100 is likely to retrieve documents in which your search words are used in unrelated contexts.

Note: Multiple w/n connectors operate from left to right, regardless of the value of n. This search finds dog within 10 words of cat, and then fish within 5 words of either dog or cat:

dog w/10 cat w/5 fish

The following search finds documents where the word vicious occurs within 3 words of dog:

vicious w/3 dog

w/p or /pUse the w/p or /p (within paragraph) connector to find documents with search words that appear within approximately 75 words of each other.

You can use all 3 of these connectors interchangeably:

  • w/para
  • /p
  • w/p
This search finds retirement within 75 words of benefit:

retirement w/p benefit

This example finds subcontract or sub-contract within the same paragraph as architect:

subcontract or sub-contract /p architect

w/s or /sUse the w/s or /s (within sentence) connector to find documents with search words that appear within approximately 25 words of each other.

You can use all 3 of these connectors interchangeably:

  • w/sent
  • /s
  • w/s
This search finds earnings within 25 words of taxation:

earnings /s taxation

w/segUse the w/seg connector to find documents in which your search terms appear in the same segment (headline, body, etc.), or within approximately 100 words of each other.This search finds documents where the word unreported and income appear in the same segment.

unreported w/seg income

near/nUse the near/n connector to find documents with search words that appear within n words of each other. The value of n can be any number. Use near/n to join words and phrases that express parts of a single idea or to join closely associated ideas.

Words or phrases linked by near/n must be in the same section (a specific part of a document). Either word may appear first.

When choosing the value of n, these guidelines may prove useful:

  • For search words to appear in approximately the same phrase, use near/3-near/5
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same sentence, use near/25
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same paragraph, use near/75

Choosing a number greater than 100 is likely to retrieve documents in which your search words are used in unrelated contexts.

Multiple near/n connectors operate from left to right, regardless of the value of n. This search finds dog within 10 words of cat, and then fish within 5 words of either dog or cat:

dog near/10 cat near/5 fish

This search finds documents in which both words appear in the same section, within three or fewer words of one another:

richard near/3 branson

It retrieves documents containing the words Richard Charles Nicholas Branson; Richard Branson; and Branson, Richard.

onear/nUse the onear/n connector to find documents in which the first word precedes the second by not more than n words.

onear/n is especially useful in situations where a different word order significantly alters meaning. For example, summary judgment is significantly different from judgment summary.

You can use all 3 of these connectors interchangeably:

  • pre/n
  • +n
  • onear/n
This search finds documents where the word overtime occurs within 3 words of compensation:

overtime onear/3 compensation

atleastUse the atleast command to require that a term or terms appear "at least" so many times in a document. Use atleast when you want only documents that contain an in-depth discussion on a topic rather than just a mention.

You can use any number with the atleast command.

This search requires references to CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) to appear in every document at least 10 times:

atleast10(cercla)

Search Connector Wildcards

The following wildcard characters help you search for variant spellings of words.

For information on connecting your search terms, see Search Term Connectors. For information on defining the proximity between your search terms, see Proximity Connectors.

Note: To view all search connectors (term and proximity) and wildcard characters on a single page so you can print a single document, see Search Connectors Quick Reference Card.

 

WildcardDescriptionExamples
!Use an exclamation mark (!) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it.
Note:
  • There must be at least 3 characters prior to the ! or you may receive unexpected results.
  • Use ! only to find unique roots; fir! will find fired, firing,and fires, but will also find first, which you may not want.
Employ! would find variations on the term employ such as employee, employer, employment, and their plurals.
*Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it.
Tip:
  • Use * only to find unique roots; fir* will find fired, firing, and fires, but will also find first, which you may not want.
  • You can use an exclamation mark (!) in place of the * if you wish. Both function in the same way, but there must be at least 3 characters in front of the ! or you might receive unexpected results.
Employ* would find variations on the term employ such as employee, employer, employment, and their plurals.
?Use a single question mark (?) to find different spellings of a word by replacing a character anywhere within the word.

For the most effective search, please keep these rules in mind:

  • The character cannot replace any of the first three characters of the word.
  • Do not use the character at the end of a search term. (Instead, use either * or !.)
  • Use only a single ? in your search term.
wom?n would find woman and women

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