Searching on Phrases Using Quotation Marks

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Is there any way to perform searches on specific phrases rather than merely on the words individually?

I wanted to do a search to see if there was any discussion on the Ultimate Combat spell "know the enemy" and its 1-minute casting time.

Search String wrote:
"know the enemy" "casting time"

That returns 9 results. Just looking at the top 3 results, I see instances of "casting time", but no instances of "know the enemy". Each result contains the words "know" and "enemy" only separately.

Performing the same search without quotes returns several 1000 results so obviously the quotes are having SOME effect, but they're not having the desired or expected results.

Other than trying to use Google to search a specific URL, is there a way to perform phrase-based searched on the boards? If not, is it on The List™?

Sovereign Court

You should probably use the search terms like this:

"know the enemy" +casting time

Meaning the search must include the exact phrase "know the enemy" and include casting time

--Vrocking Grasp

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Not that I don't appreciate a sincere attempt to help, but did you actually try inputting the search criteria you just suggested?

If not, I just did and other than your post and mine, none of the other results have any relevance. In fact, it returned 79 results instead of 9 which is somewhat contrary to narrowing the focus of the search results.

To be clear, I'm talking about using the search function on this site, I do not want to be forced to use an external search engine.

Could it be that certain words (specifically, those with three letters or shorter) are omitted from the search? I frequent other forums where that is the case.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yes, which is the reason why (in many search engines) you use quotation marks to denote an entire phrase rather than individual keywords.

For instance to see how exact you can make things by using a phrase based search just go to Google and retry the exact same search that I wast trying from there. The very first result [as of this writing] is this thread. You'll also see that in each result the entire phrase is bolded.

"know the enemy" "casting time"

Now, do the same search on Paizo and it is only bolding the inidividual words that are of 4-characters or longer in length. i.e. it's only performing a keyword search, not phrase-based searches.

Does that illustrate what I'm talking about a bit better?

Sovereign Court

I have noticed the search function hasn't been working quite as well lately. I used to be able to get exactly what I needed using the quote +- method. Even the prd search has been wonky.

--Vrock, paper, scissors

The Exchange

As a reminder, the search box on has a feature to search the PRD and/or the Paizo messageboards.

1. Enter a term in the Search box in upper right corner of
2. Click the down arrow on right side of the Search button.
3. Click on "Paizo" --> This executes the search.[/list]

Once it returns results you can further refine your results by choosing any one of the following:

  • All results
  • Advanced Players Guide
  • Game Mastery Guide
  • Bestiary 1
  • Bestiary 2
  • Ultimate Combat
  • Ultimate Magic
  • Messageboards

Hope that helps until the PRD search is back online!

(On a sidenote, you can also search the Pathfinder Wiki from the same box.)

Grand Lodge

I do not use Paizo's search function anymore. If I need to search ALL messageboards I type the following into a google search.

site: "what I want" to search for

If I want to search a specific forum, such as Pathfinder Society, I use the following google search.

site: nderSociety what else "I want to search for"

The Exchange

xebeche wrote:
site: pathfinderSociety what else "I want to search for"

Just to let you know, the search feature on is a Custom Google Search engine so it already is doing what you mentioned above. It's doing a site search and has refinements so you can filter out sections you don't like.

Grand Lodge

I'm doing something wrong then. I see how to search Paizo with the drop down menu, but don't see how to dial to specific messageboards.

The Exchange

Oh, woops 1) try it now, the refinements feature was turned off, and 2) yeah it doesn't do specific threads/forums by default but you can refine by using site: just as with a normal google search. This just has the added benefit of being able to filter to the PRD (and then by book) or to the messageboards etc.

I could make a separate custom google search though that has refinements by forum if desired. Then you enter a term and click a link to filter to just that forum etc.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

xebeche: That is a good work-around. As you can see above, I illustrated it myself in order to highlight the problem.

The main reason I raised a thread about it then was to flag it for Gary. After all, not all of the board members are equally tech savvy. As silly as it may seem, there are folks on the boards who would have difficulty understanding how to do that (let alone thinking that such a solution might be possible).

Props to d20pfsrd on thinking to add such a custom Google search feature, btw.

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