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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. If that happens a short message is displayed at the top of the search results indicating this has been done.

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

  1. phrase search
    The search engine supports three types of phrase search.

    • To match an exact phrase, use quotes around the phrase
      Example: “New York City

    • To match a near (within a couple of words) phrase, use square brackets [around the words]
      Example: [New York City]

    • To match a far (within several words) phrase, use braces { around the words }
      Example: {New York City}
  2. + and – qualifiers
    If you prepend a word with + that word is required to be on the page.
    If you prepend a word with that word is required to not be on the page.
    Example: +always -never

  3. * wildcard
    If a query word ends with a * all words on a page which start the same way as that
    query word will match.
    Example: gift*

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

  5. 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)

All of these techniques can be combined: +alway* -ne??r*

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About The Author: Stephan Pringle is an Information Technology Specialist. He covers hardware and software and provide tips for you to troubleshoot and repair issues on your own. In his spare time, he writes articles about the State of New York and is the top contributor of the New York City section of Yahoo! Answers.

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