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 for content in documents or metadata (e.g. file path, custodian, etc.): “?” for single character; “*” for single and multiple characters. Below are some examples for how you can construct wild card searches. 

Searching for words starting with certain characters, append “?” or “*” at the end of the word, e.g., 

  • Rela?  will find words such as relax and relay
  • Rela*  will find words such as relax, relay, relaxing, relate, and related 

Searching for words starting and ending with specified characters, use “?” or “*” in the middle of the word, e.g., 

  • re?t  will find words such as rent and rest
  • re*t  will find words such as rent, rest, receipt and relevant 

Searching for words ending with specified characters, prepend “.?” or “.*” and wrap the word in “//”:

  • /.?oat/  will find words such as boat and goat
  • /.*oat/  will find words such as boat, goat, throat and float 

Searching for words with specified characters in the middle, prepend and append “.?” or “.*”, and wrap the word in “//”

  • /.?oa.?/  will find words such as load and loan
  • /.*oa.*/  will find words such as load, loan, coats and floating 

In addition, you can search for words with the same ending letters and one of the specified leading letters. For example:

  • /[bcg]oat/  will find boat, coat, or goat.  

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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