Searching by keyword

Maarten Truyens Updated by Maarten Truyens

Searching by keyword is probably the most "natural" way to search: it is similar to how you search in Google or Bing. Just enter a few words, and the software will go on a hunting mission inside your clause library.

Entering keywords is probably just the start of your search journey. When you are presented with a list of clauses, you will probably want to perform some filtering to quickly narrow down your results.


  • ClauseBuddy performs smart, language-aware searches. This means that when you search for amounts, you will also find clauses that happen to contain the singular amount
  • You can combine multiple keywords to narrow down your search. For example, if you are searching for employment clauses and enter holiday entitlement, ClauseBuddy will find clauses that contain both the word holiday and the word entitlement (or linguistic variations of those words). Note that both words do not need to be next to each other in the clause, in order to be found. 
  • You can quote keywords if you want the keywords to appear next to each other. For example, "holiday entitlement" will only find clauses that contain the word holiday and the word entitlement (or linguistic variations of those words) next to each other. 
  • You can insert a hyphen before a keyword to remove clauses containing that keyword from the search results. For example, when you want to find clauses containing the words "holiday" and "entitlement" but not the word "termination", you can enter holiday entitlement -termination in the search box.
  • In an enriched clause library, you can also search for keywords found in the filenameclause description or internal legal comment. For example, when you want to search for a Texas shoot out clause in corporate law, you may want to search for the word Texas, even when that word would not literally appear in the actual clause title or body. 
  • It's called keyword search, but you can actually also search on a clause's internal number. For example, instead of sending an entire clause to a colleague by email, you can tell the colleague to insert clause 123454121 — by entering that number as a keyword, the colleague will immediately find that particular clause.
  • [PRO] In dynamic clauses that use "concepts", ClauseBuddy will also search for synonyms. For example, when searching for contract, you will also find clauses that contain the word agreement

Many users will naturally gravitate towards keyword search, as everyone is very familiar with it. However, when searching for clauses, keyword searches may not be the best approach, because clauses tend to share popular legal keywords, such as obligation, contract, propertyliability and so on.

You may not notice this when starting your ClauseBuddy journey, but once your library reaches a few hundreds clauses, you will notice that those keywords become almost completely useless, as they will turn up many results.

  • Keyword searches are ideal when the clause you are looking for contains a few fairly specific words that are not found in too many other clauses in the library. For example, when searching for intellectual property clauses in employment law, the keyword trademark may be a very good keyword, while that keyword would be a poor candidate when searching in an intellectual property clause library. 
  • Keyword searches can also still work reasonably well when your clause library is highly segmented, into different search folders. 
  • Keyword searches can also work well in enriched libraries, where clause curators include relevant keywords in the filename, description and/or legal comment. 

Limiting results to a certain folder

To mitigate the downsides of keyword searches, ClauseBuddy will allow you to narrow down found clauses to specific folders. 

You can do so by clicking on "Show folders". You will then be presented with a list of all the folders that that contain (either themselves, or through one of their subfolders) at least one clause that contains the specified keywords. To narrow down your search results to a specific folder, you simply click on a folder's name. You will the name of that folder appear as a filter on the right side


  • ClauseBuddy will ignore stop words, i.e. keywords that have no information value — e.g. words such as thethatif, and so on (depending on the language).
  • Searching for keywords in the highly dynamic parts of a dynamic clause created in Clause9 may be unpredictable. For example, when you include 8 variations of the same sentence, searching for keywords found in different variations is possible, but unpredictable. 

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