Improve the search result by expansion through 'linguistics' - Spelling, aliases, stemming, Fuzzy Search, Wildcards

Text search – free text search more notably – relies on the search for word occurring in the text searched in. This goes well, sometimes. But just as often it doesn’t. Maybe the word is misspelled. Maybe the word itself does not occur in the text, but has an alias that does. Maybe the word stemming is not the same.

Forward search has a number of features ready to use, to help improve the quality and precision of the free-text search result – commonly labeled “linguistics tools”. They include Wildcard Search, Proximity Search, Fuzzy Search, Multilingual- and Custom Thesaurus and the Did you Mean functionality.

Wildcard– and Truncation Search

Search with wildcards, by adding the defacto standard wildcards ‘?’ and ‘*’ to the search string – to either end or even within the searched for text. Forward Search supports Out-of-the-box left- and right Truncation and in-text character replacement Wildcard Search. 

Fuzzy Search

How do we compensate for misspelled words? Typo’es or names spelled using a different variation than that in the text? The Forward Search Fuzzy Search feature allows you to specify how similar the word in the text and the search for word must be, in order to return the text as a positive search hit. 

Thorough documentation for fine-tuning the similarity parameter on a pr. query level is available for developers working with this issue.


Using the Multilingual Thesaurus (available in 25 languages) and the Custom Thesaurus (which it easy-to-manage from the Administration client), you can enable search expansion to search for aliases and other versions of common words or indeed, special, company relevant words, product names, slogans, abbreviations and so forth. 

A classical use of the Custom Thesaurus, for instance, is to monitor the Forward Search Search-Log, spotting searches made by many visitors, resulting in 0 or only a few hits – and promoting those search words by providing alternate synonyms that ARE present in the index and thus will assure that more search results returned.

Did you Mean

When a search didn’t yield results, or perhaps only very few results, you can apply the Did you Mean feature in Forward Search to search for, and suggest for the visitor, alternate words that will return more hits. The alternate words suggested will be variations of the entered words, the level of variation fully controlled by parameters, and the alternates returned in order of increasing variation.