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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.

Using search

Make sure you're in the right country that you want to find advice for. On most pages it will say the country you're in under the page title. For example, 'This advice applies to England'.

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 advice you're looking for.

Press the search button to the right to start the search. 

Some pages might have a button with a magnifying glass icon instead - press it 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
  • some plural and singular versions of words are treated the same - for example, a search for 'benefit' will also search for 'benefits'

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.