Complex Searches

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Complex Searches

A complex clause search is a search string containing multiple search clauses, and can include either or both full-text and relational search clauses.  Full-text search clauses should appear first, then relational clauses - to make your searches efficient and result in a distinct outcome.


Remember the order of fields and operators for full-text and relational search clauses:

full-text clauses - the fieldname is typed last (ex. smit*.recipient.)

relational clauses - the fieldname is typed first (ex. CREATIONDATE = ??/??/1990)

To combine search clauses together, simply join the clauses using Boolean, context, or proximity operators.  When combining search clauses it is important to understand the operator precedence.  You can add parentheses to override the operator precedence or make your search string easier to read.  Parentheses have the highest precedence and can be nested up to 50 levels deep.  Be careful when using spaces, since field limiters (. and ..) cannot have spaces.

The following table shows the operator precedence order for Concordance searches, highest at the top.

Operator Order of Precedence




Locates words that are immediately adjacent, and you can specify a range of intervening indexed words from 0 to 255


Locates words that are near each other, and you can specify a range of intervening indexed words from 0 to 255


Finds words within the same field


Finds words that do not occur in the same field


Combines words and search results that occur in the same document


Combines words and search results if they do not occur in the same document


Combines words and search results, whether they occur in the same documents or not; Concordance doesn’t care


Finds documents that contain one of two search terms, but not both


Sample Complex Searches



milk AND sugar NEAR25 coffee

NEAR has a higher precedence.  This is evaluated as milk AND (sugar NEAR25 coffee).  Results are documents that have sugar within 25 words of coffee.  Then those results are searched to find documents containing milk for the final query results.

board ADJ report NOT financial ADJ report

This can be translated to board report NOT financial report.  The results are documents that don't have both board report and financial report.


Results will be documents with milk in the DOCTITLE field that also have a CREATIONDATE in the year 2012.