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PubMed: More Search Tips: Advanced searching

Advanced search tips for the PubMed biomedical literature database.

Journal searching in PubMed

To retrieve articles from a specific journal, enter the full journal title (e.g., Current Biology) or use the MEDLINE title abbreviation (e.g., curr biol) in the search box. Qualify single word journal titles using the Journal title abbreviation [ta] search field tag (see Field tags in PubMed, below).

Example: Cell [ta]

Note: In the search box, a journal title or an author's name can be combined along with subject terms.

Example: curr biol protein kinase or thorner protein kinase

To find a full title or abbreviation, search Journals in NCBI databases.

The journals catalog is available from any page under the Resources > Literature menu, or via a direct link on the home page:

Field tags in PubMed

Use PubMed's search field tags to refine your search for particular terms to a specific PubMed record field. Below is a list of some of the more frequently used PubMed search field tags with an example of how to use them:

Common Field Tags

Article title words [TI]
Author affiliation [AD]
Author name [AU]
Date of publication [DP]
Journal title abbreviation [TA]
Language [LA]
MeSH terms [MH]
Personal name as subject [PS]
Publication type [PT]
PubMed ID number [PMID]
Text words [TW]

Example: dna [mh] AND crick [au] AND 1993 [dp]
(Searches for "DNA" as a Medical Subject Heading, "Crick" in the Author field, and "1993" as the date of publication.)

A complete list of search field tags is available in PubMed Help: Search Field Descriptions and Tags.

Fields can also be specified on the Advanced Search page.

Finding review articles in PubMed

To retrieve only review articles, click on Review under Article types in the left-hand filter menu:


For other publication types, under Article types click Customize, select the check box next to the desired publication type, then Show. The publication type will then appear in the menu and can be selected.

Advanced Search Builder in PubMed

On the Advanced Search page, you can use the Search Builder tool:

  • Select a field from the drop-down menu (author, affiliation, journal title, etc.) or choose All Fields for your search terms.
  • Once you select a field, you can click Show index list link to the right of the search box to select from a list of possible values, or simply enter your term in the search box.
  • Click Search to execute the search immediately. Click Add to history to combine into a more complex search strategy.
  • Click Add under "Add to builder" to add the search to the builder using AND. Clicking on the number of each search in the history opens a menu that allows you to combine searches with AND, OR, or NOT, or save the search permanently in MyNCBI.

You can also view your recent search history and re-run or combine past searches. Unless saved permanently to MyNCBI, searches remain in your history for up to eight hours.

Search details in PubMed

The Search Details box is located in the right-hand column of the search results screen, beneath the automatically-generated related articles and data.

Search Details shows how each search term was translated using PubMed's automatic term mapping and search rules. The search can be edited directly in the Search Details box and re-run by clicking Search.

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