Using Advanced Search

The information below covers some key search concepts, and describes advanced filtering techniques using the “Filter Options” located in the left hand column of the search results page to produce more efficient search results.

Search Filter

Getting Started with Search

To search for a desired page or content, type a few descriptive words in the search box, click the “Go” button or press the Enter key. 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. To broaden or restrict the search, include fewer or more terms or use the “Filter Options” located in the left hand column of the search results page. You do not need to include "and" between the terms.

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 view.


For searches in some languages, a single spelling suggestion is returned with the results for queries where the spell checker has detected a possible spelling mistake. The spell checker supports the following languages by default:

  • U.S. English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Spanish

The spell checker feature is context sensitive.


Searches are not case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you enter them, are handled as lower case. For example, searches for "pacemaker”, and “Pacemaker” return the same results.

Common Words

Because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results, search ignores some terms, including:

  • Common words and characters, such as 'where' and 'how,' when they are used in conjunction with other search terms
  • Certain single digits and single letters

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.

Alternatively, you can enclose a series of words with quotation marks and conduct a phrase search. Example: “pacemaker implantation procedure”

Date Sort

By default, search results are sorted by relevance, with the most relevant result appearing at the top of the page. 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.

Widening 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 Minneapolis or Dublin, type the following: office Minneapolis OR Dublin You can also expand an Audience specific search, for example, by selecting multiple Secondary Search Filters (e.g. Healthcare Professionals and Healthcare Administrators) under the “Audiences” Primary Filter.

Refining Your Search

Search returns only web pages that contain all of the words in your search 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 use multiple “Primary Filter Options” (e.g. Audiences, Conditions & Treatments, Products, etc.) located in the left hand column of the search results page to affect a specific search refinement.

Searching for the broad term of “heart disease” can result in a large number of search results. Using the “Primary and Secondary Filter Options” of Audiences > Patients and Caregivers will refine the results to only include the pages with content on heart disease that is pertinent to patients and caregivers and not information for healthcare professionals.

You can also take the approach of employing word exclusion operators or searching for exact phrases. These search query input 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 use a list of words you want to exclude. For example, to search for carelink and exclude search results about diabetes or software, type the following query: carelink -diabetes -software

In this case, the search returns pages about carelink that do not contain the word "diabetes" or "software."

Phrase Searches

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

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

Phrase connectors and quotation marks join your search words as a single unit.