Truncating - search terms with wildcards

You can use wildcards to truncate search terms in Smart search and Advanced search .

The available wildcard symbols are:

  • * String of characters of any length
  • ? 0 (zero) or 1 character
  • # Exactly 1 character

If your search should also include the plural form of a word, different endings or alternative spellings, use the appropriate wildcard.


  • Enter screw* to find any word beginning with screw , e.g. screws , screwdriver , screwing , screwer , etc.
  • Enter screw? to find the words screw or screws .
  • Enter Ann# to find the names Anne or Anna .

Rules and limitations

  • Wildcards are always added at the end of a word or part of a word, e.g. color? will search for color or colors .
  • Wildcards cannot be followed by an alphanumeric character (inner truncation), e.g. colo?r cannot be used to search for color or colour .
  • There must be at least 2 alphanumeric characters preceding a ? or # symbol, e.g. co? , pa# .
  • If 2 alphanumeric characters precede a ? or # symbol, then a maximum of 3 truncation symbols is allowed.
  • If 3 or more alphanumeric characters precede a ? or # symbol, then a maximum of 7 truncation symbols is allowed.
  • There must be at least 3 alphanumeric characters preceding a * symbol.
  • Only one * symbol can be used per search term.
  • Using the * symbol can significantly increase the search time.
  • Wildcards cannot be used for classification symbols. Using /low allows searching at sub-group level, i.e., searching for F03G7/low enables searching in F03G7 and its sub-groups.
  • Wildcards cannot be used in dates.
  • Application numbers cannot be truncated.
  • In Smart search , wildcards in publication numbers or priority numbers must be used in combination with the appropriate field identifier, e.g. pn=wo2006* or pr=wo2006* . If you enter wo2006* alone, then the search engine interprets this term as text and not as a number, i.e. it will search for txt=wo2006* and this will most probably not return any results.

If you do not use wildcards properly in your search terms, you will see the Invalid query screen with an error message to that effect.