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 wildcard 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

You can also do proximity searches with phrases. Please note that, in addition to being contained in quotation marks, phrases in proximity searches must be surrounded by parentheses. “cookie (“chocolate chip”)”~20 is a correctly formatted search, while “cookie “chocolate chip””~20 is not. Some additional examples are below:

  • “jelly (“peanut butter”)”~30
    • This search retrieves results for jelly within 30 words of “peanut butter.”
  • “(sandwich* cook*) (jelly “peanut butter”)”~30
    • This search can be read as "sandwich* OR cook* within 30 words of jelly OR "peanut butter."" It will retrieve results for any or all of the following:
      • sandwich* within 30 words of jelly (“sandwich* jelly”~30)
      • cook* within 30 words of jelly (“cook* jelly”~30)
      • sandwich* within 30 words of “peanut butter” (“sandwich* (“peanut butter”)”~30)
      • cook* within 30 words of “peanut butter” (“cook* (“peanut butter”)”~30)

In Everlaw's query builder, this search would look like this:

proximity_search_2.png

This will yield the same results as a search that looks like this:

proximity_search_1.png

  • “sandwich* cook* (jelly “peanut butter”)”~30
    • This search requires all three clauses (sandwich*, cook*, and (jelly OR “peanut butter”)) to appear together within 30 extra words at most. The search retrieves results for any or all of the following:
      • sandwich* within 30 words of jelly OR “peanut butter”
      • cook* within 30 words of jelly OR “peanut butter”
      • sandwich* within 30 words of cook*

You can also perform nested proximity searches. For example, the search "sandwich ("ham cheese"~10)"~20 will look for the word "sandwich" within 20 words of every instance where "ham" and "cheese" occur within 10 words of each other. 

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}/"

 

Limiting your search based on context


You can also search for a certain word or phrase, while excluding specific contexts in which the word or phrase may occur. To do this, use NOT within your contents search. For example, if you want to do a wildcard search for “proto*” but don’t want your search to return any variant of “protocol”, you can build a search that looks like this:

proto_NOT.png

You can do the same for phrase searches. For example, if you want emails with the phrase “secret meeting” in them, but do not want emails returned where “secret meeting” only appears within the phrase “I have no interest in a secret meeting”, you can build a search that looks like this:

secret_meeting_NOT_no_secret_meeting.png


Limiting your search based on context also works for regular expression searches. For example, if you are looking for documents that contain the year 2017 in their contents, but you do not want your results to yield instances of “2017” that are part of phone numbers, you could construct a search that looks like this:


2017_NOT_phone_number.png

 

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