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Getting Started with Search

To search for a document, type a few descriptive words in the search box, and press the Enter key or click the search button. A results page appears with a list of documents and web pages that are related to your search terms, with the most relevant search results appearing at the top of the page. By default, only pages that include all of your search terms are returned. So to broaden or restrict the search, include fewer or more terms. You do not need to include "and" between the terms. For example, to search for engineering product specification documents, type the following:

The search appliance uses sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. For instance, the search appliance analyzes not only the candidate page, but also the pages that link to it, too. The search appliance also prefers pages in which your query terms are near each other. Every search result lists one or more snippets, or excerpts from the document, to display the search terms in context. In the snippet, your search terms are displayed in bold text so that you can quickly determine if that result is from a page or document you want to visit.

Note: Encrypted, viewable PDF documents are converted to HTML for indexing, but the HTML is not displayed.


For U.S. English searches, a single spelling suggestion is returned with the results for queries where the spell checker has detected a possible spelling mistake. The spell checker feature is context sensitive.


The search appliance searches are not case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you enter them, are handled as lower case. For example, searches for "george washington," "George Washington," and "George washington" return the same results.

Common Words

The search appliance ignores common words and characters, such as "where" and "how," as well as certain single digits and single letters, because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results. The search appliance indicates that a common word has been excluded by displaying details on the results page.

If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by putting a plus ("+") sign in front of it. Include a space before the "+" sign, but not after it. For example, to search for documents about Star Wars I, type the following:

Alternatively, you can enclose a series of words with quotation marks and do a phrase search.

Date Sort

By default, search results are sorted by relevance, with the most relevant result appearing at the top of the page. If you want to sort the documents by date instead, click the Sort by Date link. The most recent document appears at the top of the page and the date of each file is returned in the results. Results that do not contain dates are displayed at the end and are sorted by relevance.


When you search for numbers, do not use exponential numbers, such as "1e10," or negative integers, such as "-12."

Numbers that are separated by commas are treated as separate figures, not fractional numbers; that is, the comma is treated as a term separator, not a decimal separator. For example, if you type "3,75", the search query is treated as a search for two separate terms, "3" and "75", not the decimal fraction, "three and three quarters." Commas that separate every three digits are ignored and are not necessary. For example, both "10,000" and "10000" are treated alike.

Expanding Your Search

You can expand your search by using the OR operator. To retrieve pages that include either word A or word B, use an uppercase OR between terms. For example, to search for an office in either London or Paris, type the following:

Refining Your Search

Since the search appliance returns only web pages that contain all of the words in your query, refining or narrowing your search is as simple as adding more words to the search terms you have already entered. The refined query returns a subset of the pages that were returned by your original broad query. If that does not get the results that you want, you can try to exclude words, search for exact phrases, or restrict the search to a range of numbers. These techniques are described in the following subsections.

Word Exclusion

If your search term has more than one meaning, you can focus your search by adding a minus sign ("-") in front of words related to the meaning you want to avoid. Make sure you include a space before the minus sign. You can daisy chain a list of words you want to exclude.

For example, to search for the planet Saturn and exclude search results about the car company or Roman god, type the following query:

The search appliance returns pages about Saturn that do not contain the word "car" or "god."

Phrase Searches

Phrase searches are useful when you are searching for famous sayings or specific names. You can search for an exact phrase or name in the following ways:

  • By enclosing the phrase in quotation marks. The search appliance only returns documents that include the exact phrase you entered.
  • By using phrase connectors\u2014such as hyphens, slashes, periods, equal signs, and apostrophes\u2014in between every word of your search query.

Phrase connectors and quotation marks join your search words as a single unit. For example, if you type the following query, the search appliance treats it as a phrase search even though the search words are not enclosed in quotation marks.

Range Searches

You can confine your search query within a certain range. You can set ranges for dates, weights, prices, meta tags, and so on. The following subsections describe ways you can refine your searches with ranges.

Number Ranges

To search for documents or items that contain numbers within a range, type your search term and the range of numbers separated by two periods (".."). You can set ranges for weights ("250..500 g carbon fork"), dimensions ("90..100 mm stem"), years ("tour de france 2000..2006"), prices in dollar currencies only ("bike lights $10..$30"), and so on. Be sure to specify a unit of measurement or some other indicator of what the number range represents.

For example, to search for pencils that costs between $1.50 and $2.50, type the following:

Each number in the range should not include more than six significant digits. For example, if you were to type the search query, "1..1234567 ton truck," only the first six significant digits in the "1234567" would be included in the range search; that is, it is as though you have just typed, "1..1234560 ton truck."

Date Ranges

You can search for documents that contain dates that fall within a time frame. To use date range search, type all of the following:

  • The search term
  • The daterange: operator
  • The start date
  • The range separator (which is two periods if you are using a YYYY-MM-DD format or a hyphen if you are using a Julian format)
  • The end date

Do not add a space between the search operator and the date range. The dates could be in either of the following formats:

  • The YYYY-MM-DD (ISO 8601) format. Date ranges using this format should be separated by two periods ("..").
  • The Julian format. The Julian date is calculated by the number of days since January 1, 4713 BC. For example, the Julian date for August 1, 2001 is 2452122. Date ranges in this format should be separated by a hyphen ("-").

For example, to search for a document about Harry Potter that was modified within a specific two-year period, type the following:

The earliest date that you can use in your date range search is January 1, 1990; and the latest date, November 9, 2034.

Metadata and Meta Tag Ranges

You can search only for documents that include metadata or meta tags that contain numbers within the range you specified. To use metadata range search, type all of the following:

  • The search term
  • The inmeta: operator
  • The name of metadata or meta tag
  • The range of numbers separated by two periods ("..")

For accurate date range searches with inmeta, the meta tag content must contain only the date and no other data. Suppose your documents have metadata called "modified" that contains the last modified dates of the documents. To search for a document about risks that was created sometime in 2006, you could type the following: