W/n (Within n Words) Connector
Use the W/n connector to find documents with search words that appear within "n" words of each other. The value of "n" can be any number up to 255. Use W/n to join words and phrases that express parts of a single idea or to join closely-associated ideas.
Words or phrases linked by W/n must be in the same section (a specific part of a document). Either word may appear first.
For example, the following search requests documents in which both words appear in the same section, within three or fewer words of one another.
richard W/3 branson
It retrieves documents containing the words Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, Richard Branson and Branson, Richard.
Specifying the value of "n"
There is no magic formula for choosing the value of n, but these guidelines may prove useful:
Using Multiple W/n Connectors
If W/n connectors have the same number, they operate from left to right. If they have different numbers, the smaller number operates first. The following search finds "airport" within five words of "noise" and then "nuisance" within five words of either "airport" or "noise":
airport W/5 noise W/5 nuisance
The following search first looks for documents in which forms of the word "assign" appear within 5 words of "collateral," then finds occurrences of "lease" within 8 words of the forms of "assign":
lease W/8 assign! W/5 collateral
The search above finds documents that contain all 3 search terms, and the search terms would be within 13 searchable words of one another.