Search tips and tricks 🔎

Discourse’s search capability is feature-rich. It comes with many of filters and criteria. When you use these from the advanced search form, it automatically appends the relevant syntax to your query.

For instance, if you select In my messages, it will append in:personal to your search query.

This topic aims to list other filters that aren’t available in the advanced search form, filter aliases, results orders and other search-related tips and tricks.

It will not cover filters available from the advanced search form.


Syntax Description
in:personal-direct Returns posts in personal messages between two users only
in:all-pms :information_source: For Admins only
Returns posts from all personal messages, including those you’re not a part of
in:all Returns posts from public topics and personal messages
in:tagged Returns posts from topics that have at least one tag
in:untagged Returns posts from topics with no tags
posts_count:X Returns posts from topics that have exactly X posts
badge:name_or_id :information_source: Appears not to work
Aimed to return posts linked to a specific badge grant
created:@username Returns posts from topics created by username
group:group_name Returns posts from users within the group_name group
group_messages:group_name Returns posts from personal messages sent to the group_name group
-tags:tag1,tag2,tag3 Returns posts not tagged with tag1, tag2, or tag3
filetypes:ext1,ext2,ext3 Returns posts with uploads of ext1, ext2, or ext3 file extensions


Syntax Description
order:oldest Sorts results from oldest to newest
order:oldest_topic Sorts results by topic date, from oldest to newest


Syntax Equivalent
l order:latest
in:personal in:messages
min_post_count: min_post:
in:mine in:created
category: #
tag: #
user: @
@me @your_own_username

Search for Exact Words

Discourse’s search uses a technique called Stemming. It allows the search engine to find related words.

For example, a search for “improv” returns:

  • improve
  • improving
  • improvements
  • improved
  • improver

And so on.

While this is often beneficial, there might be occasions when you want to search for the exact word. This can be achieved by enclosing your word with spaces and double quotes, like so:

" improve "

This ensures that it will search only for the word “improve” and exclude other related words.

For instance:

:information_source: Note that because of the spaces considered as mandatory since they’re wrapped with double quotes, it will not return “improve” if it’s the first or the last word of a post since it won’t be preceded or followed by a space.

Example: Search for @mentions

Currently, searching for @mentions is not supported. However, using the above method, you can achieve it like so:"%20%40canapin%20"

This query will look specifically for @canapin (enclosed in spaces).

Search Alternative: Topic List Filter

An experimental /filter feature is available that supports many filter types. You can learn more on the official topic:

Source Files

All search filters and parameters can be found in search.rb. Look for the advanced_filter methods.

Last edited by @JammyDodger 2024-05-25T10:31:24Z

Check documentPerform check on document:

You can also do the same for mentions of tags like bug"%20%23bug" for example


A post was merged into an existing topic: Is there a user level explanation of how to use search?