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Special Characters: Query Term Separators

By default, non-alphanumeric characters in a search query separate the query terms in the same way as space characters. The following characters are exceptions:

  • double quote mark (" ) : Used as a special query term for phrase searches as described below.
  • plus sign (+) : Treated as a Boolean AND
  • minus sign or hyphen (-) : Treated as part of a query term if there is no space preceeding it. A hyphen that is preceded by a space is the Exclude Query Term operator.
  • decimal point (.) : Treated a query term separator unless it is part of a number (e.g., 250.01).
  • ampersand (&) : Treated as another character in the query term in which it is included.

If a document contains a number, with or without a decimal point, that has letters immediately before or after it, the letters are treated as a separate word or words. For example, the string 802.11a is considered two separate words, 802.11 and a.