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Search Tips

Note: This search engine uses search terms. You do not need to use connectors (such as "and") to get good results. It does use quote marks to retrieve specific phrases.

Use More Search Terms to Get Fewer Results

  • For general information, use one or two words without quotation marks.
    Example: bankruptcy
  • For more specific information, use three or more words.
    Example: bankruptcy exemptions Chapter 11

Put Search Terms in Literal Order

  • Word order affects results ranking:
    Use dog show to get more results that focus on dog shows.
    Use show dog to get more results that focus on show dogs.

Use Quotation Marks or Plus Sign to Find Exact Terms

  • To find an exact phrase, use quotation marks.
    Example: "principal residence exemption"
    This will return only documents containing that exact phrase.
  • To find an individual word that you want in an exact form, use a plus sign [+] in front of the word. The plus sign must be preceded by a space.
    Example: If you search for libel, the search engine will use a thesaurus and return results that contain the words libel and defamation. But if you search for +libel, it will only look for the word libel.
    Example: If you search for lease, the search engine will use a thesaurus and return results that contain the terms lease, leased, and leasing. But if you search for +lease, it will only look for the word lease.

Combine Quoted Words with Search Terms to Narrow Results

  • Strong: "summary disposition" motion
    Why: This will retrieve documents that contain variations on the phrase, including "motion for summary disposition" and "summary disposition motion."
  • Weak: "construction lien waiver"
    Why: This will not return documents that say "waiver of construction lien."

Use a Minus Sign to Exclude Terms to Narrow Results

  • Put a minus sign [-] immediately before a word to tell the search engine you do not want content that contains this word to appear in your search results. The minus sign must be preceded by a space. You can exclude as many words as you want by using the minus sign in front of all of them.
    Example: discovery -health -“federal courts” will retrieve documents that contain the word discovery but will exclude documents that also contain the word health or the words federal courts.

Use Highlighting to Find the Relevant Part of a Document

  • When you click on a book chapter, How-To Kit, form, or other resource from the search results page, your exact search terms will be highlighted (Note: highlighting does not operate in SCAO forms). The search engine returns results that include synonyms of your search terms to improve the chance of finding all relevant results; however, they will not be highlighted.
  • Find the search terms by scrolling through the document. Or you can jump to a search term by using the Ctrl+F (Command+F for Mac) function. Hit the Control and the F keys at the same time, enter one of your search terms in the box, and click on the arrow or Next to find your exact terms throughout the content.
  • Click the remove [add] highlighting link at the top of the page if you want to turn highlighting off [on].

Skip Common Words or Connectors Such as And, Or, or Not

  • The search ignores common words, and you do not need to use connectors, such as and, or, of, in, or the to get good results.
    Example: If you search for change of custody in divorce, the search engine will ignore of and in and will try to find documents that most closely meet the context of your search terms.
  • Do not use connectors common to LexisNexis®, Westlaw®, or other commercial search engines; doing so may give poor search results.

Don't Worry About Capitalization

  • The search ignores capital letters. The search results will be the same whether you type in bankruptcy chapter 11, bankruptcy Chapter 11, or BANKRUPTCY CHAPTER 11.

Find a Particular Type of Results

  • Under RESULTS BY TYPE, you can see how many results there are of each type (for example, Online Books and On-Demand Seminars & Materials or MI Supreme Court Opinions and Ct of Appeals Published). Click on the name of the type to see only those results.

Take Advantage of Search Suggestions

As you begin typing in the search box, ICLE’s search engine will offer suggestions based on what you have typed so far. Click on a suggestion to see results for a search on those terms.

Save Your Search

For information on saving searches, see How to Use My Toolbar.