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Finding information

How to use the site's search facility by choosing the best words or phrases to find the information you need. It also explains how to browse the A to Z of advice index.

Using search

Make sure you are in the right country that you want to find information for. On most pages it will say the country you are in, under the Citizens Advice logo. On some pages you will also see a box within the page indicating which UK country the advice applies to and an option to change country.

In the search box, in the top right-hand corner of the page, enter a word or phrase (known as keywords) that best describes the information that you are looking for.

Choose the search image / button to the right to start the search.

Search box

Search results

A list of results will appear on the screen, each with a title, a brief description and the breadcrumb trail, showing the position of the information within the site.

Choose a title to go to that page. You can also choose any of the links in the breadcrumb trail to got to a section of the site.

Search tips

If you can't find what you want

You can use as many or as few keywords as you like in your search. For the best results, it's important to choose your keywords carefully, keeping the following tips in mind:

  • try the obvious first
  • use specific words likely to appear on a page with the information you want. For example, if you search for 'rights at work', you will get hundreds of options but if what you really want is information about whether you can be sacked, you're best to use the word 'dismissal'
  • make keywords as specific as possible.
  • using capital letters doesn't affect the search.
  • plural and singular versions of words are treated separately. A search for 'benefit' will not automatically search for 'benefits', nor vice-versa. If you want to search for both versions, enter them both as keywords.

In the search box, there are other things you can do to improve the quality of your search:

  • Phrase Search: put double inverted commas "" (quotation marks) around your key phrase to perform a search for that exact phrase only. For example, a search for "child benefit" will only find pages where that precise phrase exists. On the other hand, a search for 'child benefit' without any quotation marks will find pages containing the word 'child' and/or the word 'benefit'
  • Minus signs: place a - (minus) sign in front of any keyword to make sure that pages shown in results must not contain that keyword. For instance, you could search for 'tax credit - overpayment' to make sure you only see pages where overpayment is not mentioned. However be aware that you may be missing out useful tax credit pages by doing this.
  • Wildcard searches: an asterisk (*) can be used to match any one or more characters. For example, a search for child* would search for 'child, children, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit etc'. You can also use the * in the middle of a word. This could be useful if you're not sure about the spelling. Although using a wildcard may increase the number of search results returned, it can help you to see all the topics related to a word. You can then do a more limited search using different keywords.

A to Z of advice index

Choose A to Z of advice in the footer of any page to browse a list of words. Below each word is a list of links which will take you to information about various topics.

A to Z index