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PubMed Guide: Advanced search and search history

Advanced search

  • You can focus your search to f.ex. title or abstract words.
  • Text Word searches title, abstract, author keywords and MeSH terms (but do not explode MeSH terms).
  • You can search with MeSH-terms (MeSH Terms / MeSH Major Topic) . If you don't know the exact MeSH term, serch for it in MeSH Database instead.
  •  Notice that All Fields search uses Automatic Term Mapping.


1. Type your search word(s), use quotation marks with phrases and truncation if it is useful. Click Add to move the search word to Query box. Add next search words using appropriate Boolean operator (AND, OR, NOT). Use brackets when necessary. Launch search (Search) or add it to search history (Add to history).

2. ​You can create your search in parts and combine them by using set numbers in search history. Combine set numbers with appropriate operator in Query box. Here set #1 (heart failure), set #2 (diagnosis) and set #3 (children and adolescents) are combined with AND-operator.
You can also choose sets in search history by clicking the three dots (Actions) and combine sets using the appropriate action.  Extensive search is created by combining MeSH search with Text Word -search.
Search results are shown by clicking the number of results.

Proximity searching

Proximity operators / Finding scientific information

You can use proximity searching to search for multiple terms appearing in any order within a specified distance of one another. Stopwords included in quoted terms for proximity search are searched like regular keywords.

To create a proximity search in PubMed, enter your terms using the following format: "search terms"[field:~N]

  • Search terms: two or more words enclosed in double quotes
  • Field: the search field tag for [Title], [Title/Abstract], or [Affiliation] fields
  • N: the maximum number of words appearing between your search terms

"pain management"[Title/Abstract:~2]
"postoperative pain management"[Title/Abstract:~2]
"university oulu"[Affiliation:~1]

Proximity searching is not compatible with truncation (*)