Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In   |   Join
Member Directory
Sign In

Forgot your password?

Haven't registered yet?

Legal News
Master Calendar

10/27/2016 » 10/28/2016
2016 Family Law Seminar

Introduction to Legal Research on Fastcase (Live Webinar)

Search Help
Share |

Conducting a successful search can be a bit of an art. Because of the complexities of sifting through so much information for something very specific, you may not always get what you are looking for on the first try.

Be specific

Use words you think are only in the documents you want. Searching for "Siamese" gives you fewer results than "cats," and they'll be closer to what you want.

Use double quotes to search for an exact phrase

"Cats are choosy eaters" finds that exact phrase. Also, putting single spaces between words returns the text in that exact order. Single quotes do not work.

Selecting Word Variants

This option finds words with the base word + certain suffixes. For example, a search for "swim" will also find "swims," "swimming," "swimmer," and even "swimmed." It will not find the variation "swam," however, because the base word has changed, or "swimmet," or "swimsed" because the suffixes are not acceptable with that word.

Fuzzy search

This option finds documents that have matches similar to your search.

Sample query


user requirement

user group requirement

user has a requirement

Califorrnia (incorrect spelling)

California (correct spelling)


communicate, communicating, communi-cation

Palo Alto (correct spelling)

Paloalto (incorrect spelling)


Use different words with the same meaning

Let's say you're looking for documents about cats. Try "cats OR felines OR kittens." The OR operator finds documents containing any of these.

Keep an eye on the number of results you get back
If you have too many or too few results, try reformulating your search.

If there are too many results, try using AND. If there are too few results, try OR.

cats OR dogs

Returns documents with one or the other (returns more results)

cats AND dogs

Returns documents with both (returns fewer results)


 To use an operator in your search, enter it into the search box.



Description and examples




Finds documents containing all the conditions or words linked by AND.


cat AND dog AND fish

Finds documents containing all three of these words.





, (comma)

Finds documents containing either of the conditions or words and returns them ranked by number of appearances in the document.


cat OR dog OR fish

Finds documents containing at least one of these words.

Note ACCRUE works slightly better than OR when sorting results by relevance.





Excludes documents containing the term that appears after the operator.


You can put NOT between words:

cat AND NOT dog

Finds documents containing the word cat, but not if they also contain the word dog.

(cat OR dog) AND NOT (fish OR frogs)

Finds documents containing the word cat or dog, but not if they also contain the word fish or frog.

(cat AND dog) AND NOT fish

Finds documents containing the words cat and dog, but not if they also contain the word fish.

You can put NOT before any field name:

NOT [Projectname] CONTAINS top secret

Finds documents whose Projectname field does not contain the words 'top secret.'

You cannot put NOT after the math symbols =, <, >, <=, or >=; and before a date or number:

[date1] = NOT 12/25/2002

is not an appropriate query.


" "


Requires that only documents containing the exact phrase are returned. Placing double quotes around operators (like AND, OR, CONTAINS etc.) allows them to be read as normal words.


"rock and roll"

Finds documents containing the phrase rock and roll.


A wildcard that can represent any single letter. It does not work with dates or numbers.



Finds documents containing bone, cone, done, gone (and any other four-letter words that end with 'one')


Finds documents containing stack, clock, stick, truck; rack, rick, rock


A wildcard that can represent any extension of letters. It does not work with dates or numbers.



Finds documents containing bone, cone, clone, crone, done, drone, gone, telephone (and any other words of any length that end with 'one').


- (hyphen)

Finds documents with the hyphenated word pair.



Finds documents containing "full-text."

The Iowa State Bar Association • 625 East Court Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50309
Ph. (515) 243-3179 • Fax (515) 243-2511