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Wikipedia uses a powerful search engine, with a search box on every page. The search box will navigate directly to a given page name upon an exact match. But, you can force it to show you a page of search results instead, to see what else Wikipedia has that includes your search string. The maximum search string is 300 characters long.[1] However, search can instantly search all 44,526,247 pages on the wiki when the search is kept to a simple word or two.

Wikipedia's searches can be made domain specific (i.e., search in desired namespaces). The search engine also supports special characters and parameters to extend the power of searches and allow users to make their search strings more specific.

Advanced features of the Wikipedia search engine include multi-word proximity-searches (in which the user indicates how close the words in a phrase might be), wildcard searches, "fuzzy~" searches (handles typo-correction and questionable spelling), and allow users to make also has several, wiki-oriented, operators and parameters, for weighting and filtering. Search can also handle regular expressions, a sophisticated, exact-string, and string-pattern, search tool that is not offered by most public search engines.

Search can also filter results by template names used, category membership, or pages linking to a specific page.

Special:Preferences offers several search options, and Wikipedia:Tools#Searching offers the setups of other users.

Search box

Monobook places this search-box in the left toolbar.
Vector skin, simplified search box.

The search box is an input box with the term "Search Wikipedia" in it. In the Vector skin, it is located in the top right corner of the screen. In Monobook, it is in the middle of the sidebar on the left of the screen.

To use the search box, click in it, or jump to it, and type in your search string. To jump to the search box, "focus" your cursor to there by pressing ⇧ Shift+Alt+F.

In Vector, instead of a search button, there is an icon of a magnifying glass on the right-hand end of the search box. Pressing ↵ Enter or clicking on the magnifying glass when the box is empty takes you directly to Wikipedia's search page.

If your search matches a page name the search box may navigate instead of search. To get search results instead, prepend the tilde ~ character to the first word of the title. (Or choose "containing..." from the suggestions that drop down as you type.)

JavaScript and skins have an effect on the search/navigate default behavior. Monobook's default is to navigate, and Vector's default is search; however when JavaScript is on, the Vector skin will navigate. Monobook's Go will navigate, and is the default, but Monobook has a Search button.

Search string

Whatever you type into the search box is called the "search string". It may also be referred to as the "search query".

A basic search string is simply the topic you are interested in reading about. A direct match of a basic search string will navigate you directly to Wikipedia's article that has that title. A non-match, or any other type of search string will take you to Wikipedia's search results page, where the results of your search are displayed.

You can include in your search string special characters and parameters that activate specific search capabilities. Using any of these will take you to Wikipedia's search results page with the results of your search displayed.

The maximum search string is 300 characters long.[1]

What you can type in to do various things is called search string syntax...

Search string syntax

Upper and lower case as well as some diacritical marks such as umlauts and accents are disregarded in search. For example, a search for citroen will find pages containing the word Citroën (c = C, e = ë). Some ligatures match the separate letters. For example, a search for aeroskobing will find pages containing Ærøskøbing (ae = Æ).

Many non-alphanumerical characters are ignored. It is not possible to search for the string |LT| (letters LT between two pipe symbols) as used in some unit-conversion templates for long tons; all articles with lt will be returned. Some characters are treated differently; Credit (finance) will return articles with the words credit and finance, ignoring the parentheses, unless an article with exact title Credit (finance) exists.

The source text is what is searched, which is not always what is displayed on the screen. This distinction is relevant for piped links, for interlanguage links (to find links to Chinese articles, search for zh, not for Zhongwen), special characters (if ê is coded as ê it is found searching for ecirc), etc.

For regex searches, see the insource parameter, below.


The default search domain is the article space, but any namespace may be specified in a query.

And at the search results page any number of namespaces can be specified, and users can keep those namespaces as their own default search domain. Partial namespace searches can be made by specifying the initial letters of a pagename.


The use of spaces is, in general, intuitive. Unnecessary spaces, and all non-alphanumeric characters except " are ignored, which makes for flexibility; it is simplest and best to avoid typing unnecessary spaces, although the tolerance for grey space simplifies copying and pasting search terms without the need for cleanup. For example, credit AND card is obviously reasonable, creditANDcard is not; copying and pasting [[Credit(?!)card]] is equivalent and convenient; "credit card"AND"payment card" is actually correct and minimal, but "credit card" AND "payment card" is a sensible equivalent.

In detail: any character other than a letter of the alphabet, a number, or the double quotation mark character"used to demarcate an exact-phrase search—the characters!@#$%^%^&*()_+-=~`{}[]|\:;'<>,.?/—is treated in the same way as a space character. We use the term grey-space instead of whitespace here to include the space character itself and all these characters. Multiple [grey-]spaces are equivalent to a single space, and when used between terms to AND.

Grey-space is ignored within and around logical terms, between the words of exact-phrase searches, between adjacent items in the query, and in starting characters of the search box query. All filters can have grey-space between them without affecting search results. Most operators, such as intitle and incategory, ignore unnecessary spaces, or grey-space, after the colon.

Where spaces are significant: single search terms cannot have embedded spaces; work space, "work space", and workspace are all different. The particular keywords prefix and insource must be followed immediately by a colon:and their arguments, without intervening [grey-]spaces.

Special characters

For regex searches, see the insource parameter, below.

Double quotes for exact phrase search

A phrase can be matched by enclosing it in double quotes, "like this". Double quotes can define a single search term that contains spaces. For example, "holly dolly" where the space is quoted as a character, differs much from holly dolly where the space is interpreted as a logical AND.

Suffixed tilde character for fuzzy search

Spelling relaxation is requested by suffixing a tilde (~) like this~, with results like "thus" and "thins". It covers any two character-changes for any character except the first: it returns addition, exchange, or subtraction. This search technique is sometimes called a "sounds-like" search. For example, searching for charlie~ parker~ returns Charlie Parker, Charles Palmer, Charley Parks.

Prefixed tilde character for forced search

To force a search rather than navigate directly to a matching page, include a tilde character ~ anywhere in the query. It always takes you to the search results page, never jumping to a single title. For example, the misspelling similiar is redirected to Similarity, but prefixing a tilde, ~similiar, lists pages containing that misspelling.

Exclusion character (prefixed hyphen)

Pages matching a search term can be excluded by prefixing a hyphen or dash (-) to the term. This is the logical not. For example credit card -"credit card" finds all articles with credit and card except those with the phrase "credit card".

Wildcard characters

The two wildcard characters are * and \?, and both can come in the middle or end of a word. The escaped question mark stands for one character and the star stands for any number of characters. Because many users ask questions when searching, question marks are ignored by default, and the escaped question mark (\?) must be used for a wildcard.

Logical operators

Logical operators on the search terms include AND between terms, and OR between terms. When two quoted phrases are side-by-side, you must specify AND between them, but with two words AND is optional because it is the default. An AND is exclusive because it too filters pages, while an OR is inclusive because it adds pages. Next is logical not, for example while refining -unwanted search -results.

  • Boolean search – the search engine supports the "-" character for "logical not", the AND, the OR, and the grouping parentheses brackets: (_). Logical OR must be spelled in capital letters; the AND operator is assumed for all terms (separated by spaces), but capital AND is equivalent. Parentheses are a necessary feature because:  (blue OR red) AND green, differs from: blue OR (red AND green).


The main search operators are insource, prefix, intitle, incategory. These function as named filters, followed by a colon and their own search term. Their search term may be, as usual, a word, a phrase, and prefix takes a page name or the beginning letters of a pagename, as described below. These make up items in a query, and so they accept logical operators between them. A single "namespace:" filter can go first, and a single "prefix" filter can go last, as explained below.

namespace name:

namespace_name:, All: or all: – Given only at the beginning of the query, a namespace name followed by a colon limits search results to that namespace. It is a filter without a query string. Namespace aliases, like "WP" for "Wikipedia", are accepted. The case-sensitive namespace wildcard "All:" searches all namespaces and prioritizes mainspace matches to the top. Using the lower-case "all:" version also searches all namespaces but does not prioritize the results by namespace. A reader searching for articles from the search box need know nothing about namespaces, so the default user preferences are set to search only in article space; but an advancing editor can reset the default search-space preference to a particular namespace, or "all". When preferences are "all", namespace ":" means mainspace titles sort to the top. To search only Wikipedia and Help, or any two or more namespaces, see Refining results above.


intitle: – Searching for "intitle:query" prioritizes the results by title, but it also shows the usual matches in title's contents. Multiple "intitle" filters may be used with Boolean operators between, such as "intitle:speed OR intitle:velocity", but "intitle:speed OR velocity" also works.

Query Description
intitle:airport All articles with airport in their title
parking intitle:airport Articles with "parking" in their text and "airport" in their title
intitle:international intitle:airport Articles containing "international" AND "airport" in their title (including Airports Council International)
intitle:"international airport" Articles with the phrase "international airport" in their title


incategory: – Given as "incategory:category", where category is the pagename of a category page, it lists pages with [[Category:pagename]] in their wikitext. (Editors searching in namespaces other than mainspace will need to know the limitations these search results may contain.) Space characters in a page name can be replaced with an underscore instead of using double quotes; either way works, and even both at once works (but not on commons). "Incategory:" will also return pages in the adjacent subcategory; see for example, "category: incategory:History". Multiple "incategory" filters may be applied. A more graphical alternative to a single filter is at Special:CategoryTree. Because categories are important structures for searching for related articles, any use of this prefix is particularly effective for searching. For more on using the categories themselves to find articles, see Wikipedia:FAQ/Categories.

Query Description
ammonia incategory:German_chemists Starting with the articles listed at Category: German chemists, only the ones that have the word "ammonia" in their text
incategory:"Suspension bridges in the United States" incategory:Bridges_in_New_York_City Articles that are common to both categories—the suspension bridges in New York City
"feral cat" -incategory:"Category:Cats in the United Kingdom" Articles that contain the phrase "feral cat", but not listed in Category:Cats in the United Kingdom


prefix: – "prefix:page name" patterns only the beginning characters of a pagename. Because the "beginning" characters can, if you need, go on to include the characters all the way to the end of the page name, prefix must include spaces, since page names often include spaces. For this reason prefix: must only ever be given at the last part of a search box query, and next character after the colon cannot be a space. Prefix does not search for partial namespace names, but requires at least a full namespace name to start to find pages, but prefix: also recognizes an alias of a namespace, and it recognizes redirects (or shortcut). Prefix is the most widely used and powerful filter as it can mimic the namespace filter, and because intitle: cannot easily target a single page, even together with other filters. Special:PrefixIndex is a MediaWiki, graphical, version, using only prefix: to find pages.

Query Description
Salvage wreck prefix:USS Articles containing the words salvage and wreck whose title starts with the characters "USS"
wave particle prefix:Talk:Speed of light Speed of light talk pages with the terms "particle" and "wave", including the current and the archived talk pages
wave particle prefix:Talk:Speed of light/ Same search, but only in the archived subpages
"portal namespace" readers prefix:Wikipedia talk: Is equivalent to 'Wikipedia talk:"portal namespace" readers'
Talk:"heat reservoir" OR "ocean current" Any discussion page in the entire encyclopedia with either of those phrases, including archived discussions
language prefix:Portal:Chi Portal namespace page names that begin with "Portal:Chi" and have the word language in the page


linksto: – "linksto:page name" search in pages which link to the given page. Can be used negatively, i.e., pages which do not link to the given page. Unlike with some other keywords, the page name is case-sensitive.

Query Description
linksto:Airport All articles containing internal link to Airport.
parking linksto:Airport Articles with "parking" in their text linking to Airport
-linksto:"Albert Einstein" "Albert Einstein" Articles containing "Albert Einstein" NOT linking to Albert Einstein


insource: – This can find template arguments, URLs, links, html, etc. It has two forms, one is an indexed search, and the other is regex based.

Query Description
insource:"word1 word2"
Like word searches and exact-phrase searches, non-alphanumeric characters are ignored, and proximity and fuzziness are options.
These are regular expressions. They use a lot of processing power, so we can only allow a few at a time on the search cluster, but they are very powerful. The version with the extra i runs the expression case-insensitive, and is even less efficient.

Search page

Wikipedia special search box
The search page.

The search page features a search box, with some links to search domains beneath it.

The difference between this search box and the one that appears on article pages is that exact matches on this one will not navigate you directly to an article page. This search box will produce the search results page showing what all matches your search on Wikipedia.

To get to the search page, do an empty search (press ↵ Enter while in the search box before typing anything else in), or click on the magnifying glass in the search box. The link Special:Search, which can be inserted onto user pages or project pages, for example, also leads to the search page.

For an explanation of search domains, see refining results, below.

While the entire contents of the search page is included in the search results page, it is a distinct page. User scripts might be designed to work on the search results page but not the search page, for example.

Search results page

The search results page looks just like the search page, plus the results for your search query.

The search results page is displayed when a search is done from the search page, when a search from the regular search box does not exactly match a page title, or when any parameters or special characters are included in a search string.

When presenting results, the internal search understands and will link to relevant sections of a page (although to a limited degree some other search engines may do this as well).

The three core features of the search results page are: the larger search box from the search page, the expandable/collapsible frame with the search domain links, and the user's search results. The latter two are explained below. For information on what can by typed into the search box, see Search string syntax, above.

(merged from draft)

Four namespace options line the bottom of the search box.
On the search results page, for a one-button modification of the search results, select one of the four described search domains, or select Advanced for namespace-oriented search domains.

A search results page shows the search query that produced the results, so you can edit the query and get new search results. Every search box and search link and inputbox has the same search engine and same search results page, Special:Search. It also offers one-button modification of the search domain, and through user preferences, the Wikipedia Search results page can run the search on other search engines, and go to their search results page.

The search results page is designed for refining results.

  • Note the number of pages to the right.
  • Add a filter term such as  -word  or  incategory:pagename
  • Modify the search domain to be "Content", "Multimedia", or "Everything" (by activating that word).
  • Create your own search domain: select "Advanced", and a set of namespaces.
  • Note the matching terms in bold, in the snippet.

The centralized search box on the search results page will never navigate to a given page name, and does not report any errors, but instead issues preliminary reports about the search results:

There is a page named "Page name" with a link to the page, or
Did you mean: link with a spelling correction, either a search link, or a navigation link
You may create the page "New title" with a link to that new title for the spelling correction
Showing results for query correction. Search instead for query with zero results.

This page covers Search, its syntax, its parameters, how to use its regex capability, and covers the search results page. There are seven new CirrusSearch parameters, for a total of eleven search parameters. This page covers their search indexing and page ranking prerequisites. Most importantly, a regular expression search is not an indexed search, and so in order to pre-establish its reasonable search domain, a regular expression search requires an accompanying search term that is an indexed-search filter.

Understanding search results

As is normal for web search engines:

  • Characters that are not numbers or letters (punctuation marks, brackets and slashes, math and other symbols) are ignored.
  • Stemming is performed to aggressively boost the number of search results.
  • Spelling corrections and query corrections are offered.
  • A hyphen means not, and turns a "yes include" query term into a "no" term, for example  while -refining -unwanted search results.
  • When you land on Search, the query that produced it will show in its own featured search box, in large font, for editing. See below for how to turn your browser web-search box into a Wikipedia-search box.

Search has many features you need to know about in order to use it correctly:

  • Folds character families. Diacritical folding automatically matches foreign terms: Citroen will match Citroën, and Aeroskobing matches Ærøskøbing.
  • Ignores punctuation, brackets, math and other symbols, only recognizing words containing letters and numbers.
  • Is case insensitive.
  • Performs stemming on common words. (This can be turned off.)
  • Searches all visible content after templates are rendered on that page.

In the search results:

  • The ordering of the list of search results is determined by the page ranking software, but you can make adjustments to it. See #Search engine features below.
  • Matching terms are highlighted in bold. All matches in the title will show, and all other matches can show in the snippet, but all matches will not show when they are far apart on the page. Search terms are not thrown out, but some page item may contain only a stem.
  • Sometimes the match is made in a section heading. These will show off to the side of the page name, parenthetically.
  • Only one result, most likely relevant match, from each selected sister project appears on the right side of the page. Per this discussion, only Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikivoyage (title match only), Wikisource, and Wikibooks are selected sister projects to appear on the right side. Files from Wikimedia Commons appear as mixed into results but only by searching in "File:" namespace.
  • For articles, a message box may show up beside a listing, indicating that it has a sister page on another project, such as a Wiktionary entry that defines the title of a Wikipedia article.

Search results will often be accompanied by a preliminary report.

  • There is a page named "Page name" (a wikilink to an existing page),
  • Did you mean: spelling corrections (either a wikilink or a search-link).
  • You may create the page "New title"— (a redlink to a new page name).

The Did you mean report corrects dictionary word spellings and gives a link that is either a wikilink that will navigation to an article or a search link that will perform a query. The distinction can be made by observing the presence of a You may create the page report. Another report corrects "spellings" to coincide with any "word" found in a search index (any word on the wiki).

Showing results for query correction. Search instead for your query (two search links).


All search words are automatically subject to stemming (following built-in patterns). If stemmed words are not wanted use double quotes around the word you do not want stemmed. Stems are a convention among search engines to garner more search results. See the following search link results for this page:

Query Description
stem Matches "stem", "stemming" or "stems", etc.
cloud Matches "cloud", "clouds", "clouding", or "clouded", etc., but not "cloudy".
"stemming" Matches "stemming" but not "stemmed" or "stems", etc.
"clouds" Matches "clouds" and "cloudsource", but not "clouding", or "cloud", etc.


If your query matches in the title of a redirect pagename, that redirect will show in the parenthetical beside the listed page name: "(redirect from Redirect pagename)". Multiple redirects to the same page are de-cluttered from both the drop-down list and the search results list, so that only one such redirect match will show. (For lists of redirects, see Category:Wikipedia redirects. For redirects to a page, see Special:WhatLinksHere.)

Because a redirect is a page name, but it can also point to a section, a section can show up in the ranking of search result items, which are usually pages.

There is presently no search operator or parameter that will include redirects or not. To learn some commands the search box understands to refine search results, see the next section. You won't need the mouse.

Refining results

Wikipedia special search box
Special search box just for Search, with the general search domains listed below. Click on one to search that domain.
Some Wikipedia simplified search options
Clicking on Advanced shows the namespaces of the wiki. Check namespaces to set either your current or your default search domain.

The Search page is designed for presenting and refining results in a re-search loop controlled by modifying the query or clicking on a search domain.

  • Add a filter such as -word  or sort by date with  prefer-recent.
  • Note the number of search results to the right.
  • Note your search terms in bold in the snippet, and use that context to modify your search.

Articles are in the main namespace, or "article space", but Special:Statistics will show that there are many times more pages on Wikipedia than there are articles on Wikipedia. Other types of pages are in other namespaces, and these can be searched by clicking one of the search domains in the grey frame just below the search box. Its blue font turns black to show that it represents the search results.

  • If Multimedia is clicked matching images, videos and audios are then listed. These are in the File namespace on the wiki, and on the Wikimedia Commons web site, which is also searched.
  • If Everything is clicked, matches to every page on the entire wiki are then listed. Everything includes all the namespaces on the wiki, (including Help and Wikipedia). These are listed in Advanced.
  • If Advanced is clicked, a profile of previously set namespaces is then searched, and a gray frame expands to reveal the profile. All the namespaces of the wiki are listed there, and the search domain is indicated by check marks. Click All to match the Everything search domain to the left; clicking none requires selecting namespaces to have an effect. To set your default search domain, at the bottom click "remember", and then click "Search" to set it. To collapse the frame again, you must perform another search, either by clicking on one of the other search domain offerings, or by removing the &profile=advanced parameter in your browser's URL in the address bar, and entering that search.

In order to fully interpret the search results page, check which search domain is in black font, but also remember to check for a namespace name at the beginning or a prefix: parameter at the end of the search box query:

  • When the search domain consisted of two or more namespaces[2], an expanded "Advanced" frame below the search box, a profile, will indicate that, because only one namespace can fit in the shown query.
  • A namespace entered in a query always takes priority for determination of the search domain of a query, and will at any time override your default search domain, or any displayed profile.
  • A prefix: parameter at the end of a query in the search box, furthermore, will override any namespace there, or any profile underneath that.

Equivalently, you could check the URL in your browser's address bar for profile and namespace parameter settings, because the search query was sent to the search engine by way of that URL.

Search settings

There is a Preferences → Search tab. (You must be logged in.)

The default search domain is article space, but any user can change this default, and have their own default search domain for all the queries they run. In any case a query always can specify a namespace to make the search domain explicit and override any default. At the search results page, Special:Search, Advanced dialog, a search can specify any number of namespaces, and a logged-in users can set their default search domain there by clicking "Remember selection for future searches".[3]

Visit your Preferences → Gadgets page (requires JavaScript) to set up:

  • several external search engines' views of Wikipedia. The search results page will then have a pull down list to the left of its search box, offering your choice as, say, a modification of a word or phrase search, or a page ranking refinement. Go to Preferences → Gadgets Appearance, and see "Add a selector to the Wikipedia search page allowing the use of external search engines."
  • a wider search box. Go to Appearance and find "Widen the search box in the Vector skin."
  • Preferences → Search → Completion. Spell-correct titles dropped-down from the search box as you type, or not. Or go to Preferences → Appearance and see "Disable the suggestions dropdown-lists of the search fields".

The search results page can open in a new tab. See Preferences → Gadgets Browsing There are also custom user-scripts to make all search results always open in a new tab. (See the scripts available in See also.)

To hide/opt-out the search results snippets from sister projects, go to Preferences → Gadgets → Appearance and see "Do not show search results for sister projects on the search results page".

Tips and tricks

Searching within a page

The internal search engine cannot locate occurrences of a string within the page you are viewing but browsers can usually do this with Ctrl+F, or ⌘ Command+F on a Mac.

Search Wikipedia from any web page

To get Wikipedia search results while on any web page, you can temporarily set your web browser's search box to become a Wikipedia search search box, even though you're on another web site; see Help:Searching from a web browser. This trick removes the need to first navigate to Wikipedia from a web page, and then do the search or navigation. It is a temporary change, and then you put it back to your preferred web-search engine.

For example, you flip your web-browser search engine to "Wikipedia (en)" while:

  • you are writing a blog page on some web site, and you need to look up several items on Wikipedia during the session.
  • you enjoy contributing to Wikipedia at the same time you are learning new information from interesting pages on the web, or while reading your favorite topics at your favorite web sites.
  • you research all your technical answers on a social networking site before responding.
  • you're trying to keep up with a new crowd on Facebook or Twitter, and you have to look up much of what they are talking about.

You can just drag items on the page the name up to the web browser search box while on any web site, even in the lower sections of a Wikipedia page, where no search box is immediately available.

You can reach all twelve sister projects the same way by using interwiki prefixes in the web browser's search box. For example, you can go straight to a Wiktionary entry by using the prefix wikt: from your web-search box.

Other search tools

Other search tools include

  • your own browser, to search the current page only. Try Ctrl+F, F3, or ⌘ Command+F.
  • the Main page. It searches other-language Wikipedias.
  • search-related templates. See the navigation box below.

Internal search tools:

External tools dedicated to Wikipedia Database searches include:

  • Article title search: searches page titles using regular expressions. This search is much slower than standard search. In particular this tool can search for exact strings of characters, including punctuation and with case sensitivity. For example the pattern \(& Co\. Ltd\. will find only titles containing (& Co. Ltd. exactly as shown. Regular expressions are precisely defined, and not intuitively obvious.
  • CatScan: Version 3, about twenty search parameters, three for categories
  • WikiBlame: search for text in the revision history of a page
  • User Contribution Search: reports anyone's contributions to a page
  • whichsub: finds transcluded templates of a given page which contain a given string.

If you cannot find what you are looking for

If you're looking for a place where wine comes from pronounced "Bordo", you can try searching for a more general article such as "Wine", "Wine regions" (returning "List of wine-producing regions") or other wine types such as "Burgundy" and see if it's mentioned there or follow links (in this case, to "Burgundy wine", which has several mentions of "Bordeaux", and links to "French wine" and "Bordeaux wine"). If you know it's in France, look at "France" or the Category:Cities in France, from where you can easily find Bordeaux. You can try various things depending upon the particular case; for "Bordo" wine, it's quite likely that the first letters are "bord", so search an article you've landed on for these letters. If you use Google to search Wikipedia, and click on "cache" at the bottom of any result in the search engine results page, you'll see the word(s) that you searched for highlighted in context.

For an overview of how to find and navigate Wikipedia content, see Portal:Contents. If you're looking for a straight definition of a word, try our sister project Wiktionary.

If there is no appropriate page on Wikipedia, consider creating a page, since you can edit Wikipedia right now. Or consider adding what you were looking for to the Requested articles page.

If you have a question, then see Where to ask questions, which is a list of departments where our volunteers answer questions, any question you can possibly imagine.

A common mistake is to type a question into the search bar and expect an answer. While some Web search tools support this, the Wikipedia search is a text search only; questions, as such, can be asked at the reference desk and similar places. A search for how do clocks work? will return articles with the words how, do, clocks, and work, ignoring the question mark (in practice this can lead to articles answering simple questions).

Delay in updating the search index

Because people like to see their work in search results, the search engine attempts to update in near real-time. Edits made to pages via templates can take a little longer to propagate. If you see the index lagging more than a day or so, report it. For other technical issues with the search engine, please leave a message on the talk page.

Under the hood

To power its search feature, Wikipedia uses CirrusSearch, a MediaWiki extension that uses Elasticsearch to provide enhanced search features.

Custom search box

See also

Information icon.svg Help desk
The alternative to searching = browsing
aka: looking it up
Advanced search methods


  1. ^ a b See Phabricator task T107947 for an explanation.
  2. ^ A search link can set a search domain to two or more namespaces, or all namespaces.
  3. ^ Because the default search domain is a settable preference, any query you intend to share, publish, or save in a search link might need the search domain explicitly given in the search link in order to ensure consistent search results among all users, at any time. {{Search link}} defaults to article space but can specify multiple namespaces in its query.