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How to Search - Including 3-letter words

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There are two means of searching:

  • Using the small “Search box” on the top right of every page (not available on mobile phones, see below)
  • Going to the “Advanced Search” page via the menu link for “Search” in the “Activity” menu drop-down on desktops or by clicking the magnifying icon in the “Search box” without entering any words in it (or as below for mobile devices)


Please note that the “Search box” on the top right of every page does not show on mobile phones, it only shows on desktop browsers. On tablets, it might show when in landscape view (depending on its width) but not in portrait view. On mobile phones and tablets in portrait view, the icon with a magnifying glass to the left of the menu takes you to the “Advanced Search” page.


The Search system has many options, which are described below.


How to search for words/terms:

There are several methods/options for searching word(s), eg: Trigeminal Neuralgia:

  •  Any of my search terms: this will find either Trigeminal or Neuralgia
  •  All of my search terms: this will find Trigeminal and Neuralgia, but not necessarily next to each other, each word might be in a different (part of a) sentence - [this is the default]
  •  All of my search terms, As a phrase (when searching for more than one word): this will find Trigeminal Neuralgia as two words next to each other. To search As a phrase from the start, you need to put quote marks around your phrase in the “Search box” or on the “Advanced Search” page
    • The actual option for As a phrase only appears in “Advanced Search” after you've carried out an initial search (see below). If you're already on the “Advanced Search” or search results page, you can use quote marks instead of choosing “As a phrase” in the options on the “Advanced Search” or search results page

Additional options are for searching for your word(s) in:

  •  Content titles and body: this will search for your word(s) in topic titles and in every post of a topic - [this is the default]
  •  Content titles only: this will search for your word(s) in topic titles only but not in every post of a topic

In the “Search box”, these are under the heading: “Find Results In”
In the “Advanced Search” page, these are under the heading: “Content Type”


When using the “Search box” on the top right of every page:
(Not available on mobiles, except maybe in landscape view on tablets)



Generally, you’d probably want to change “Everywhere” to “Topics”. If, for instance, you only want to search for something in our Resources section, click on “More Options” and it will show more areas to search in, choose “Resources” and this will then only search Resources and not Topics.

By default, it’s set to: Find results that contain “all of my search terms” in “Content titles and body”. You can change these as described above.

Enter your search word(s) and either hit the Enter/Return key on your keyboard, or click on the little magnifying glass to the right of the search box.

Alternatively, leave the search box empty and click on the little magnifying glass to take you directly to the “Advanced Search” page, which gives more options. Or go to “Activity” in the main menu and choose “Search” from the drop-down, which will take you to the “Advanced” search page.

Note: This “Search box” may be a bit of a nuisance to use, especially for those of us with less dexterity: you type in your search word(s) and the drop-down with various options sometimes disappears before you have time to choose more than one option, so you have to get the drop-down to appear again. You might therefore prefer to go directly to the “Advanced Search” page instead. It is an extra step to take, but at least things don't disappear when you don't want them to, and the font size is bigger.

When on the “Advanced Search” or Results page:

There are a couple more options:


By default, it’s set to Sort by: Date. You can change this to “More relevant” once you’re in this search results page.

More relevant”: The word(s) searched for will be looked for in both the Content title and body. Most of the time, if the word(s) matches the title of any content, it is considered more relevant than if the word(s) are in the body. However, it may only apply to the first few results shown, especially if the word(s) only infrequently appears in the title. There is no chronological order to the results.


You can further refine your search by clicking “+ More search options”.

“Advanced Search” results page - More Search Options:


If you only want to search in one or two forums instead of all of them, click on “Forums - Select”, which will open a drop-down listing all forums, and choose which forum(s) you’d like to search in by clicking on your choices.

Additional options are as in the screenshot above.

Searching for 3-letter words:

Unfortunately, the forum's search system doesn't allow searching for 3-letter words - unless they’re accompanied by a word with 4 or more letters. Eg: entering “leg” or “MS hug” won’t return any results as none of the words have 4 or more letters; but entering “hug pain” will return results.


Therefore, to search for single 3-letter words, such as those often used in our world of MS and related abbreviations, like: DMD, LDN, leg or arm, etc, the only way is to go to Google and type in:



site:ms-people.com your 3-letter word(s)

replacing “your 3-letter word(s)” with your own search words. If you want to search for a specific phrase (“as a phrase”, eg: “MS hug”), put it in quote marks.


Edited by Marina


(belated DX in June '05, SPMS)

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