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Search Syntax and Tips

You can search for keywords in the documentation by entering text in the Search box in the top-right corner of the desktop or by entering text in the Help browser.

Search box located in the top-right corner of the desktop, to the right of the quick access toolbar

When you open a page from the search results, the keywords that you searched for appear highlighted. To clear the highlighting, press the Esc key.

Search for Symbols and Special Characters

The search engine ignores common, insignificant words such as a, an, the, and of, unless they are part of an exact phrase in quotation marks. It also ignores capitalization, punctuation, and special characters such as +. To find a symbol or special character:

  • Search for the word instead of the symbol or character, such as plus instead of +.

  • View the documentation on MATLAB Operators and Special Characters.

  • Search the PDF documentation, available from the documentation home page.

Use Operators to Improve Results

Searches can include the following operators:


Exact phrase

Example: "plot tools" finds pages that contain plot tools, in that sequence, with no words between them.



Requires at least two nonwildcard characters, and cannot appear at the start of a keyword or in an exact phrase.

Example: plot* finds plot, plot3, and plotting.


Boolean OR

Example: plot OR graph finds pages with either plot or graph.


Boolean NOT

Example: "plot tools" NOT "time series" finds pages with plot tools but excludes pages with time series.


Boolean AND

Implied when no operator is present between keywords.

Example: plot AND tools is equivalent to "plot" "tools".

The Help browser search evaluates NOT operators first, OR operators second, and AND operators last.

For example, this text searches for pages that contain either plotting tool or plot tools and contain workspace, but do not contain time series.

"plotting tool" OR "plot tools" NOT "time series" AND workspace

Filter Results

You can filter search results using facets that appear on the left side of the page. For example, view MATLAB® topics by selecting MATLAB and Help Topics.

Help browser with a list of search results and Refine by Type and Refine by Category facets on the left side of the page

Where the Search Engine Searches

The search engine searches the following text in the documentation:

  • Documentation — Text and code shown in the Help browser

  • User interface examples — Help comments in the program file

  • Videos — Titles

See Also

Related Topics