Advanced Content Searches (Wildcard, Proximity, Fuzzy, Regular Expression)

You can conduct wildcard, fuzzy, and proximity searches. The content search term also supports regular expression.

Wildcard Searches

Everlaw supports single and multiple character wildcard searches. To perform a single character wildcard search, use the "?" symbol. If you would like to perform a multiple character wildcard search, you should use the "*" symbol. The single character wildcard search looks for terms that match the search with a single character replaced. For example, to search for "rent" or " rest", use re?t.

Multiple character wildcard searches look for 0 or more characters. For example, to search for "rest", "rests", "rested", or " restless", use rest*.

You can also use the wildcard searches in the middle of a term, such as re*t, to get terms like "relent" or "reset".

You may not use the '*' or '?' symbols at the start of a word.However, you may use regular expressions to prepend a variety of characters to a word. For example, if you are searching for words that end in "oat", use the following keyword search:


To limit the search to find documents with the words "boat" or "moat", you would enter the following:


Fuzzy Searches

Everlaw supports fuzzy searches, which finds similar words. To do a fuzzy search, use the tilde symbol "~" at the end of a single word term. Fuzzy searches are a good way to find documents with possible misspellings of words or names.

For example, to search for a term similar in spelling to "rise" use the fuzzy search: rise~. This search will find terms like "risk" and "rises".

An additional (optional) parameter can be used to specify the required similarity threshold. The value of the parameter is between 0 and 1, not inclusive. A value closer to 1 signifies higher similarity: rise~0.8

The default parameter is .5 if no other value is specified.

Proximity Searches

Everlaw supports finding words that are within a specific distance away from each other. To perform a proximity search, use the tilde symbol "~" at the end of a list of words you want to search for enclosed with quotation marks. Then, specify a word distance. For example, to search for "cumulative" and "assessment" within 10 words of each other in a document in either order, use the search:

"cumulative assessment"~10

Everlaw does not currently support proximity searching with phrases. There are workarounds, however. Let's explain through an example:

  • Imagine you want to search for documents that contain the phrases "construction draw" and "updated monthly" within a certain distance of each other. You can construct either of the following two searches:

  • The basic idea is to break out terms from the phrases into separate proximity searches and run a content search for the exact phrases to try to eliminate false positives. If the phrases are very complicated (ie. more than two words long), you don't need to break out all the words in a phrase into separate proximity searches - just some of them - as the phrase searches will pick up the entire phrase.

Other Common Patterns

You can also perform a contents search for common patterns, such as social security numbers. These searches use regular expressions. Below are some common examples:

Social Security Numbers:

"/[0-9]{3}/ /[0-9]{2}/ /[0-9]{4}/" OR "xxx xx /[0-9]{4}/"

Credit Card Numbers:

"/[0-9]{4}/ /[0-9]{4}/ /[0-9]{4}/ /[0-9]{2,4}/"

Phone Numbers:

"/[0-9]{3}/ /[0-9]{3}/ /[0-9]{4}/"


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