Boolean search expressions

December 28, 2017

In addition to simply typing in words to search for, Pinker allows you to enter Boolean search expressions in the search field.

If you simply enter several words, Pinker will find files that contain all of these words. Entering travel beach sunshine is equivalent to entering travel and beach and sunshine.

To find files that contain any of the search words, use 'or': travel or beach or sunshine.

'and' has precedence over 'or' (i.e. 'and' is “stronger” than 'or'). travel or beach and sunshine will find all documents that contain the word ‘travel’ or the two words ‘beach’ and ‘sunshine’. It will not find files that contain ‘beach’ but neither ‘travel’ nor ‘sunshine’.

To exclude files that contain particular words, use 'not': travel beach not sunshine will find files that contain the words ‘travel’ and ‘beach’ but not the word ‘sunshine’.

You can use parentheses. (travel or beach) and sunshine will find all files that contain one of the words ‘travel’ or ‘beach’ and the word ‘sunshine’ (so ‘sunshine’ must be present).

You can use single or double quotes (“…”, ‘…’) to find files that contain specific word sequences. Entering “Beach and sunshine” (the quotes are part of what you enter) will find files that contain those exact words, including the ‘and’. There is no difference between upper case and lower case spelling.

A number of characters are special to Pinker. If you want to find them in documents, you have to put them in quotes. These characters are (, ), #, +, -, &, \, [, ], ?, =.

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