Command Line Search
Searching > Command Line Search

Glossary Item Box

Command Line Search is designed to help you build a precise search using operators to combine different fields that target your search terms. ProQuest will only search the fields you specify. 

Alternatively, you can simply search on a word or phrase.

Operators, fields, and special characters
Adding thesaurus terms
Keep in mind
Recent searches and sets in ProQuest Dialog

Command line searching is useful if you want to quickly combine fields within a search without filling in each of the fields individually, or when you need to find information in one field, but NOT in another.

To perform a command line search, you can prefix your term(s) with field name abbreviations and enter them directly into the search box. For example: AU(Miller) and PUB(physiol*).


  1. Click Add search fields.
  2. Click the arrow next to the Search fields drop-down and choose a field code.
  3. If you want to combine fields with Boolean operators, click the arrow next to the Operators list and choose the required operator.
  4. Click Add to form.
  5. Enter your search term(s) in the brackets for each field.

 At the bottom of the page, beneath the search box, are two tabs:

Running an entire search strategy

Command Line Search supports entering and running a multi-set search strategy.

  1. Enter or paste your strategy in the box.
    If you’re typing your sets in the box, make sure to end each set and start a new line—and a new set—by pressing Enter or Shift+Enter. If you’re entering a very long set, just keep typing; the set will wrap to a new line as necessary.
  2. Click Search. Each set will run and the Results page will display, showing results for the last search in your strategy. Each set is added sequentially to the Recent Searches page. The number of results retrieved by each set are displayed.

Operators, fields, and special characters

Search fields

Look up links

For some fields included in the Search fields drop-list, you can browse—using Look up links—a list of all available terms, and select one or more to add to your search.

Field codes

Field codes (sometimes called mnemonics), provide a shorthand alternative for search field names.

ProQuest will interpret both the field name and its corresponding code the same.

For example:
is the same as:


Field name Field Code
Abstract AB
Accession number AN
Address ADR
Advisor ADV
Age AE
Agency AG
All fields (no full text) ALL
Amount note AMN
Article geographic terms ALOC
Article subject terms ASUT
Article taxonomic terms ATX
Articles about US Hispanics USHIS
Auditor AUD
Author affiliation AF
Authors AU
Availability AV
Available for licensing region ALIC
Book title BK
Broad subject BSU
Caption CAP
Category (table/figure type) FIGT
Cited author CAU
Cited document title CTI
Cited publication title CPUB
Cited year CYR
Classification CC
Column COL
Committee member CMT
Company CO
Company as subject ORG
Conference sponsor CS
Conference CF
Conference title CFTI
Contact individual CX
Copyright CY
Corporate author CA
Country CNT
Country name RG
Dateline DLN
Degree DG
Department DEP
Development history HI
Document feature DF
Document text FT
Document title TI
Document type DTYPE
Drug originator DOR
Edition EN
Editor ED
Education level LV
Email address EA
EMBASE subjects EMB
Environmental regime ER
EPA number EPA
Fax FA
Folklore FK
Format availability FV
Format covered FC
Fortune 500 rank FORT
Frequency of publication FQ
From database FDB
Full description MEC
Funding amount AM
Funding type FTYPE
Gallery GA
General literary topic GSU
Generic name GN
Genetic sequence GQ
Geologic time GT
Grant information GI
Group GRP
HBond acceptor HBA
HBond donor HBD
Holding library HL
Indicator IND
Influence IFL
Input center number, ASFA TR
Instrument INS
International classification IC
Inventor INV
Issue ISS
Journal editors JED
Journal subjects JSU
Journal title JN
Keywords/identifiers IF
Language LA
Last revision date LR
Latitude & longitude LL
LC control number LC
Lecture/series LEC
Linguistic topic LSU
Lipinski values LIP
Literary genre LGR
Literary source LSO
Literary technique LT
Literary theme LTM
Location as subject LOC
Location of work LOW
Major subject MJSUB
Manuscript type MTYPE
Map information MP
Market rating MKR
Market segment SEG
Material ML
Material classification MC
MeSH subjects MESH
Media MD
Methodology ME
Molecular formula MF
Molecular weight MW
Monograph title MT
Narrow subject NSU
National literature NL
New chemical entity NCE
Non-polymer material  NM
Notes NT
Novelty rating NVR
Number of references NR
Object geographic terms OLOC
Object statistical terms STAT
Object taxonomic terms OTX
Organizer ON
Origin of substance OS
Original title OTI
Other contributors OAU
Other numbers NU
Patent applicant AP
Patent application data PA
Patent country PC
Patent information PAT
Patent issue date PI
Patent number PN
Patent priority country PPC
Patent priority data PR
Patent priority date PRD
Patent priority number PRN
Patent publication country PBC
Patent publication date PDA
Person as subject PER
Pharmacokinetic data PK
Phase PHS
Phone number TE
Physical description PH
Place of publication CP
Population POP
PQ subject PSUB
Predictive model EQ
Price quoted PQ
Process PRC
Product as subject NP
Publication date PD
Publication date range DL
Publication type RTYPE
Publication year YR
Publication/order number DISPUB
Publications PUB
Publisher PB
Publisher city (IBA only) PBCITY
Publisher location PBLOC
Rating RAT
References REF
Registry number RN
Related work RW
Report number RP
Requirements RQ
Resource location RL
Reviewed work RV
Revision REV
Rotational bonds ROT
Route of administration RO
Scholar SCR
Scholarly approach SAP
Scholarly theory STH
Scholarly tool STO
School name/code SCH
Section SEC
Series SR
Shelfmark SH
Source type STYPE
Specific language SLA
Speed rating SPR
Sponsor SP
Sponsor type SPT
Sponsoring organization SPORG
Start page PAGE
Status ST
Study names/identifiers STI
Subfile SFL
Subject-author SAU
Subject-language SUL
Subject-work SWK
Subject-work (translated title) TWK
Subject area SBA
Subject/artist SA
Subjects SU
Substance DN
Substance SUBST
Summary language SL
Supplement SUPP
Supplemental file types SPTYPE
Table of contents TOC
Tags TAG
Target audience TA
Target data TG
Taxonomic terms TXTERM
Tests & measures TM
Therapeutic class TC
Therapy status TST
Ticker symbol TKS
Time period TPR
Total rating TRAT
Trade name TN
Treatment TT
Update date UD
Volume VO
Volume/issue DVI DISVOL
Word count WC


Operator Description Example
AND Look for documents that contain all of your words or phrases.
Use AND to narrow your search and get fewer results.
food AND nutrition
OR Look for documents that contain any of your words or phrases.
Use OR to broaden your search and get more results.
food OR nutrition
NOT Look for documents that contain one of your search terms, but not the other.  nursing NOT shortage
NEAR/n or N/n Look for documents that contain two search terms, in any order, within a specified number of words apart.  Replace ‘n’ with a number. In the example, 3 means within 3 words. 
nursing NEAR/3 education
media N/3 women
PRE/n or P/n Look for documents that contain one search term that appears within a specified number of words before a second term.
Replace ‘n’ with a number.  In the example, 4 means the first term precedes the second term by 4 or fewer words. 
nursing PRE/4 education
shares P/4 technologies
EXACT or X Look for your exact search term in its entirety. Used primarily for searching specific fields, like Subject. For instance, a search on su.exact("higher education"), will return documents with a subject term of "higher education", but not documents with a subject term of "higher education funding".  SU.EXACT("higher education")
SU.X("higher education")


Link a descriptor term to a Subheading (qualifier) by selecting the proper qualifier in the Thesaurus window, or by using the LNK (or --) in Basic, Advanced or Command Line Search.

Also, link two related data elements together, to ensure proper specificity in your search.

MESH(descriptor LNK qualifier)

MESH(aspirin LNK "adverse effects")

MESH(aspirin -- "adverse effects")


IND("dry eye") and RG(Canada)

will retrieve documents where a drug has been indicated for treatment of dry eye in the region of Canada.


Special characters for special purposes

These characters can come in handy when you're looking for documents that contain words that can be spelled different ways, such as color or colour, or words that begin with the same character string, such as nursed or nursing.

Character Description Example
? Wildcard character - used to replace any single character, either inside or at the right end of a word. Multiple wildcards can be used to represent multiple characters. nurse?
Finds: nurses, nursed

Finds: smith and smyth

Finds: added, adult, adopt

Truncation character (*) - one * for many characters. Use the truncation character at the beginning (left-hand truncation), the end (right-hand truncation), or in the middle of search terms.

To specify a specific upper limit for term expansion, use term[*N]. The default range is 0-10 characters.

Finds: nurse, nurses, nursed

Finds: colour, color

Finds: told, household, bold


Finds: upbeat, downbeat, offbeat, heartbeat 

$n or [*n] $n and [*n] are equivalent operators used to denote up to how many characters you want to truncate.

nutr$5, nutr[*5]
Finds: nutrition, nutrient, nutrients

< Less than. Used for numeric fields like publication year. YR(<2005)
> Greater than. Used for numeric fields like publication year. YR(>2005)
<= Less than or equal to. Used for numeric fields like publication year. YR(<=2005)
>= Greater than or equal to. Used for numeric fields like publication year. YR(>=2005)
- Use a hyphen to indicate a range when searching numerical fields, such as Publication date. YR(2005-2008)

Adding thesaurus terms

You can use the thesauri to find broader and/or narrower related terms to add to your search.

Note that the thesauri that you see on the Thesaurus List screen will depend on your subscription and on the database(s) you have selected; also, some thesauri only apply to particular databases.

Recent searches and sets in ProQuest Dialog

You can work with recent searches and sets on Command Line Search in the same way as on Advanced Search. You can also combine sets using operators - see our Search Tips page for more details.

Keep in mind

Copyright © 2011 ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.