With the Main Search technique, you can simply type words in the query box without any keywords and often you’ll get useful results. You can also add plus and minus signs to make your search more accurate.
- A plus sign (+) in front of a word means that word must be in pages for them to be a match.
- A minus sign (-) in front of a word means that any page that has that word is excluded from the list of matches.
You might go through several different searches, adding and taking away query words and + and – signs, gradually refining your search, and getting useful pages to rise to the top of your list of matches thanks to the automatic ranking capability that is built into this search mode.
With Advanced Search, you use “Boolean” logic to form your queries, and you can precisely control the order of the results. Don’t be intimidated by the word “Boolean.” These techniques are relatively simple to understand and use.
- Use AND to join two terms that must both be present for a document to count as a match.
- Use OR to join two terms if either one counts.
- Use AND NOT to join two terms if the first must be present and the second must NOT.
- Use NEAR to join two terms if they both must appear and be within 10 words of each other.
You don’t have to capitalise the “operators” AND, OR, AND NOT, or NEAR. But many people do to make it clear what is a query term and what is an instruction to the search engine.
You can also group steps together with parentheses ( ) to tell the system what order you want it to perform operations in and to make it easier to see what you are doing.