Refine a search with operators

You can use search operators to refine a query. A search operator is an instruction that joins keywords to form a new, more complex query. It enables you to look for several words at once by telling Copernic Desktop Search how to link keywords. Search operators can be typed in the Search and Refine sections.

  1. Start CDS.

  2. Chose the search category by clicking the corresponding button on the desktop search category toolbar.

  3. Type keywords in the Search and/or Refine text boxes, or click the down arrow and choose keywords in the list.

  4. Use search operators, such as Boolean operators, parentheses and quotation marks to refine your query in any of the text boxes.

  5. To look for keywords in email attachments, select the Also search in attachments check box.

  6. Click the search button or hit the Enter key.

Supported search operators

Description Example

AND (+)

Finds documents that contain all of the specified words.

Use the AND operator to search for documents in which all the terms joined with the AND operator are present. Therefore, if 4 keywords are joined with AND in a search, only documents containing all 4 keywords will be returned. On the other hand, a document that contains 3 of the 4 keywords will not be returned. The AND operator helps you narrow your search. By default, Copernic Desktop Search uses the AND operator.

Be careful not to overuse the AND operator in a query; a search that is too specific could overlook relevant results.

business AND meeting

Copernic Desktop Search will find documents that contain both "business" and "meeting". Because AND is the default operator, the following query would produce the same results:

business meeting

OR

Finds documents that contain at least one of the specified words.

Use the OR operator to search for documents in which at least one of the search terms joined with the OR operator is present. The OR operator helps you broaden your search by including synonyms or related terms.

meeting OR appointment

Copernic Desktop Search will find documents that include either one of the two terms or both.

NOT (-)

Excludes the documents that contain the specified word.

Use the NOT operator to ignore documents that contain the specified words. The NOT operator helps you narrow your search.

Be careful with the use of NOT as the attempt to narrow the search may be too exclusive and eliminate relevant documents.

meeting NOT appointment

Copernic Desktop Search will find the documents that contain the word "meeting" if they do not contain the word "appointment".

Also, if you search for references about "international news", excluding the word "national" might result in missing relevant results whatever the context related to the use of this word in documents. Therefore, the NOT operator must be used carefully.

NEAR

Finds documents that contain specified words in close proximity.

Use the NEAR operator to find words that are at most ten words apart.

Copernic NEAR Desktop

Copernic Desktop Search will find the documents that contain the words "Copernic" and "Desktop" provided they are at most 10 words apart.

 

Quotation marks

Finds documents that contain the whole word or the exact phrase.

Use quotation marks to avoid finding similar terms or derived words. If the word you are searching for needs to be considered as a whole word, enclose it in quotation marks. The documents must include the specified whole word.

Quotation marks can also be used to search for an exact phrase.

TIP: You can customize Copernic Desktop Search to always search for whole words by selecting the Find whole words only checkbox.

"challenge"

Copernic Desktop Search will find documents that contain the exact word "challenge". Had the word not been enclosed in quotation marks, Copernic Desktop Search would also have found documents containing similar terms, such as "challenges" or "challenger".

"Lord of the Rings"

Copernic Desktop Search will find documents that contain the exact phrase "Lord of the Rings".

Parentheses

Processes the enclosed sub-query first.

Use parentheses to isolate parts of a query. Sub-queries included in parentheses are processed before all other parts of the query.

(America OR Europe) AND maps

Copernic Desktop Search will first process the "America or Europe" sub-query to find all documents that include either one of the two terms or both. It will then filter all found documents to keep only the ones that also include the word "maps". Hence, it will find documents that contain the words "America and maps", "Europe and maps" or all three words.

@all

Finds all documents.

Use the @all operator to display all items (of all categories).

 

 

Folder search

You can easily find a specific folder by grouping your results by folder. To do so, click the Arrange By: button and select Folder and Show in Groups.

 

 

Please note that  certain characters are ignored by CDS, and thus considered as white spaces. They are:

period .

comma ,

semicolon ;

underscore _

equal sign =

slash /

backslash \

ampersand &

left parenthesis (

right parenthesis )

vertical bar |

left square bracket [

right square bracket ]

left curly brace {

right curly brace }

exclamation mark !

less-than sign <

greater-than sign >

at sign @

quotation mark "

apostrophe '

colon :

plus sign +

hyphen -

question mark ?

asterisk *

 

 

 

 

If you use only one of the pair of search operators, the search will be invalid. For instance:
(dogs

If you use a Boolean operator without white spaces around it, as in a compound noun, the character will be considered as a white space. For instance:
cross-reference

Remember: You can combine operators to create queries that are more refined