Performing text searches using CQL

This page provides information on how to perform text searches. It applies to advanced searches when used with the CONTAINS operator.

**Acknowledgments:** Confluence uses Apache Lucene for text indexing, which provides a rich query language. Much of the information on this page is derived from the [Query Parser Syntax]( page of the Lucene documentation.

Query terms

A query is broken up into terms and operators. There are two types of terms: Single Terms and Phrases.

All query terms in Confluence are case insensitive. For example, searching the query term Foo or foo will give the same result.

Single Term

A Single Term is a single word such as "test" or "hello".


A Phrase is a group of words surrounded by double quotes such as "hello dolly". To find exact matches for phrase "hello dolly", you need to enclose the whole phrase in quotation-marks ("). Otherwise, the search will return all issues that contain both words in no particular order - this would include "hello dolly", but also "hello world dolly".

If you’re using the advanced search feature, you also need to escape each of the quotation marks with a backslash (\). For details, refer to the following examples


Advanced search: Find all content where the text contains the words "hello" and the word "dolly", in no particular order.

text ~ "hello dolly"

Advanced search: Find all content where the text contains the exact phrase "hello dolly":

text ~ ""hello dolly""

Term modifiers

Confluence supports modifying query terms to provide a wide range of searching options.

Wildcard searches: ? and * | Fuzzy searches: ~

Wildcard searches: ? and *

Confluence supports single and multiple character wildcard searches.

To perform a single character wildcard search use the "?" symbol.

To perform a multiple character wildcard search use the "*" symbol.

Wildcard characters need to be enclosed in quote-marks, as they are reserved [characters in advanced search](/cloud/confluence/advanced-searching-using-cql). Use quotations, e.g. `summary ~ "cha?k and che*"`.

The single character wildcard search looks for terms that match that with the single character replaced. For example, to search for "text" or "test" you can use the search:


Multiple character wildcard searches looks for 0 or more characters. For example, to search for Windows, Win95 or WindowsNT you can use the search:


You can also use the wildcard searches in the middle of a term. For example, to search for Win95 or Windows95 you can use the search


You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search. The feature request for this is JRA-6218.

Fuzzy searches

Confluence supports fuzzy searches. To do a fuzzy search use the tilde, (~), symbol at the end of a single word term. For example to search for a term similar in spelling to "roam" use the fuzzy search:


This search will find terms like foam and roams.

Terms found by the fuzzy search will automatically get a boost factor of 0.2.

Rate this page: