HeinOnline’s Tip of the Week: How Do I Use Proximity Searching to find a Phrase Within 10 words of Another Phrase or Word?

Often times you may find yourself looking for a phrase that is close in proximity to another phrase, or for a phrase close in proximity to a specific word. For example, you may want to find the terms "safety standards" and "consumer products" within 10 words of each other. The search syntax in HeinOnline only supports single term proximity searching, it does not support nested or phrase searches with proximity searching. Therefore, you must structure the search string to look for each word of each phrase within a specific proximity.

For example, to find "safety standards" and "consumer products" within 10 words of each other, we have to structure our search to look for safety, standards, consumer, and products within 10 words of each other. To do this, you would insert the following syntax:

text:"safety standards consumer products"~10

This search returns over 150 results. Click on the view matching text pages link within each result to view a brief snapshot of the page within the article where these terms appear within 10 words of each other.

You will also use this syntax if you want to find a phrase within certain proximity of another word. For example, if you want to find the phrase "representative capacity" within 4 words of partnership, you would insert the following syntax into the search box:

text:"partnership representative capacity"~4


This returns just over 25 results.

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