Simple search

  1. Start the recoll program.

  2. Possibly choose a search mode: Any term, All terms, File name or Query language.

  3. Enter search term(s) in the text field at the top of the window.

  4. Click the Search button or hit the Enter key to start the search.

The initial default search mode is Query language. Without special directives, this will look for documents containing all of the search terms (the ones with more terms will get better scores), just like the All Terms mode.

Any term will search for documents where at least one of the terms appear.

File name will exclusively look for file names, not contents

All search modes allow terms to be expanded with wildcards characters (*, ?, []). See the section about wildcards for more details.

In all modes except File name, you can search for exact phrases (adjacent words in a given order) by enclosing the input inside double quotes. Ex: "virtual reality".

The Query Language features are described in a separate section.

When using a stripped index (the default), character case has no influence on search, except that you can disable stem expansion for any term by capitalizing it. E.g.: a search for floor will also normally look for flooring, floored, etc., but a search for Floor will only look for floor, in any character case. Stemming can also be disabled globally in the preferences. When using a raw index, the rules are a bit more complicated.

Recoll remembers the last few searches that you performed. You can directly access the search history by clicking the clock button on the right of the search entry, while the latter is empty. Otherwise, the history is used for entry completion (see next). Only the search texts are remembered, not the mode (all/any/file name).

While text is entered in the search area, recoll will display possible completions, filtered from the history and the index search terms. This can be disabled with a GUI Preferences option.

Double-clicking on a word in the result list or a preview window will insert it into the simple search entry field.

You can cut and paste any text into an All terms or Any term search field, punctuation, newlines and all - except for wildcard characters (single ? characters are ok). Recoll will process it and produce a meaningful search. This is what most differentiates this mode from the Query Language mode, where you have to care about the syntax.

The File name search mode will specifically look for file names. The point of having a separate file name search is that wildcard expansion can be performed more efficiently on a small subset of the index (allowing wildcards on the left of terms without excessive cost). Things to know:

  • White space in the entry should match white space in the file name, and is not treated specially.

  • The search is insensitive to character case and accents, independently of the type of index.

  • An entry without any wildcard character and not capitalized will be prepended and appended with '*' (e.g.: etc -> *etc*, but Etc -> etc).

  • If you have a big index (many files), excessively generic fragments may result in inefficient searches.