Department for Education


Search tips

By default the search engine tries to locate pages which have exact matches for all of the words entered in your search query. If that fails, it then tries to locate pages which contain any words in your search query.

In addition, there are several ways to modify the default search behaviour.

Phrase search

The search engine supports three types of phrase search.

  • To match an exact phrase, use quotes around the phrase
    Example: "free search engine"
  • To match a near (within a couple of words) phrase, use square brackets [around the words]
    Example: [free search engine]
  • To match a far (within several words) phrase, use braces { around the words }
    Example: {free search engine}

* wildcard

If a query word has a * all words on a page which contain that query word will match.
Example: gift*

? wildcard

If a query word contains a ? any character will match that position.
Example: b?g

Boolean search

You can use the following boolean operators in your search: AND, OR, NOT. These operators MUST be in capital letters.
Example: (contact AND us) OR (about AND us)