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Using Boolean and proximity operators are convenient to refine queries in case search results are too noisy or increase the recall when the number of results is too limited.

Each line is  limited to 10 000 characters.

Several types of operators are available in the search form and in the command line:

- Truncations

- Boolean operators

- Proximity operators

- Numeric operators

The video shows a quick example of using Boolean, proximity searching and truncators. Notice the blue font that the software uses to acknowledge the use of truncators/operators and the parenthesis are yellow, showing where they open and close.


Truncations are symbols that replace one or more characters, which lets you search for different variations of a term. The shortened term must have at least three characters for truncation to properly function.

You can use up to 9 truncations in a same word, or only 7 if you combine 2 different truncations (? and # for example). The operator _ described below is not a truncation.




Truncation replaces any number of characters

Nota: may be refused on very short words.

bicycle shed+


Truncation replaces zero or one character
Up to nine ?s may be used within a term



Truncation replaces exactly one character
Up to nine #s may be used within a term


Always be careful with truncations when the term is short. For example, if I want to catch the plural for the word car, I might be tempted to write car? but such a query will bring noise by retrieving documents containing "care", "card", "cart" on top of the desired "cars".

Boolean operators



Finds records containing at least one of the words

sulfur OR sulphur


Finds records containing all the words (Nota: might be different members in a family)

plutonium AND isotope


Finds records containing the first term without the second term (caution: handle with care on keywords in fulltext)

suv NOT vehicle

Proximity operators

The terms in the same field, across the different publications of a record
scroll F compressor


The terms in the same paragraph, 20 000 terms max

sodium P chlorine


The terms in the same sentence, 200 terms max

sodium S chlorine


The terms adjacent in any order inside the same sentence

redundancy D check


The terms adjacent, regardless of the order, separated by a maximum of n words inside the same sentence (n value between 1 and 99)

conduct 2D electric 2D adhesive


The terms adjacent in the order specified and separated by a maximum of n words inside the same sentence (n = value between 1 and 99)

friction 9W pad?


The underscore allows for simultaneous searching of terms that may be written as one or two words. It will also retrieve results where there is a hyphen between terms, and it can also be used in chemical formulas. Up to five _s may be used within a term




Parentheses (nesting) are necessary when combining different operators

((wireless W application W protocol) OR wap) NOT (dna OR transgenic)
(hair 2D (dye OR dyeing)) AND oxidate+


NOTA: When your parenthesis includes several nW or nD operators, the distance between words is possibly the addition of all distances. For instance:

(word 3D word 3D word)

will retrieve results with not strictly a distance of 3 between each word, as the maximum distance is 6 (3+3) like :

(word 1D word 5D word) OR [...] OR (word 5D word 1D word)

For the Workfiles module, only Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) are available and usable.

In all our modules or interface, special characters (/ & % - . , ; : etc.) are not searchable and are considered as spaces. For example, if you are looking for 12.5% of something, the correct spelling is :

"12" W "5"

To look for patents where a standard is cited in the description, a correct search string is 


To look for the WIFI standard IEE802.11xx. To retrieve patents cited by standards, please use our dedicated field STDN, more details here.