How to work the search page controls
Do you want to find items that have:
At least one of your keywords, all, in any order, or that exact phrase?
If you select the button for:
- -- at least one of your keywords
- you will get items that contain any of your words. This can be
useful if you are looking for either "dynamical" or "chaotic" to look up
dynamical or chaotic systems, since a page about them may mention only
one of these terms.
- -- all, in any order
- you will get items that contain all your words, no matter what order
they're in on the pages. You could use this
option to search for an item concerning light speed, which might
also appear as "speed of light."
- -- that exact phrase
- you will get items that contain all your words in the order
you typed them. You might use this option to search for items dealing
with natural numbers, where you're looking for pages that say
"Mathematicians define a natural number as...," but not pages
that mention "the natural flow of the river" and "the number
of birds on the riverbank."
Do you want to find items containing your keywords as
complete words only, or as parts of other words as well?
If you select the button for:
- --complete words only
- you will get precisely the word for which you are searching.
- --as parts of other words as well
- you will get anything containing that string of letters. By searching
for "logic," for example, you will find logical, logician, topological,
illogical, homological, and morphological, among others.
Searching DOs and DON'Ts
- Double-check your spelling if you get no matches.
Our searcher will try to correct typos and misspellings, but it can't catch them all.
- Search for the singular form of your term
on a first search: if you search for Mersenne primes,
you'll miss pages like "Mersenne Prime freeware."
- If you get too many results, try narrowing your search,
perhaps by spelling out the full word you're searching for, or adding another term likely to be found in
a page on your topic, or searching a
- Spell out ordinal number keywords such as
"first" and "second," since "1st" and "2nd" won't get as many matches.
- If you are searching for specific equations or constants, write
out the name
of the equation or constant, or of some of the components of the equation. Searching for
"e=mc^2" won't find anything helpful. It's better to search for "Einstein relativity theory"
or "energy mass speed light" using the "all, in any order" button.
- Don't use common words like the,
and, a, or of, except in exact phrase
searches. Note that "math" is a common word at the Math Forum! Our searcher will ignore common
- Don't use Boolean operators, since our
searcher isn't capable of them. It doesn't make use of special search terms such as AND,
OR, NOT, +, or -.
- Don't submit equations to be computed, since our
searcher is not a calculator. Instead, try looking at the
type in our Internet Mathematics Library.
- Don't ask questions such as "How do you find the
area of a cone?" Our searcher doesn't understand English. Search for formula, area, and cone, or try looking in Ask Dr. Math instead.