The experience of reading digital archives can be enhanced with the search tool built into the Exact Editions reader, accessible online and in the Exactly app.

Whether you’re undertaking academic research or are curious about a magazines’ back issues, the search tool allows you to quickly and intuitively locate topics within a magazines archive. Our technology incorporates primary Boolean search operators familiar to library experts, enabling you to gain the most out of the available content with the most specified of results.

We’ve recently helped the team at Autocar curate their 127-year archive, featuring 5,900 fully-searchable issues. This voluminous digital archive makes for an excellent occasion to demonstrate of our search tool’s features. 

Search Within A Specific Time Frame Or Issue

To get started, just sign in using your Exact Editions account details and select the title in which you wish to search. 

Once you have selected a title, you can filter your searches by date and issue. To control the time-frame, click on the decade/year/month of issues before using the search box. For example, if you click on the “1980s” section and then search for Bugatti, this will search for Bugatti only in issues from the 1980s.

Searching within a decade/year/month section will only gather results from that time-frame.

Equally, if you click on a issue and use the search box, the results will only be gathered from that issue. Thus, searching for Bugatti within the 1 March 1989 issue, for example, will show all the times the word is mentioned in that specific issue.

If you search for a term within an issue, it will only gather results from that specific issue

Search Using Quotation Marks

Similarly to searching on Google, quotation marks can be used to look for a specific term or phrase mentioned in the digital archives. This function allows you to find specific topics quickly.

For example, searching for Porsche 911 Turbo S without quotation marks will look for pages with Porsche AND 911AND Turbo AND S. However, using quotation marks around the phrase (“Porsche 911 Turbo S”) will search specifically for that phrase.

Placing quotation marks around a search will search for that specific phrase only

Search for a Single Word or Combination of Words

This is a simple one: enter words into the field in the top right hand corner of the screen and click ‘Search’. This provides you with a complete list of results within the selected issue, title or time frame. 

Entering more than one word will bring up all pages that include each of the entered words. For example, searching Ford Fiesta will show pages which include Ford AND Fiesta.

Searching for Ford Fiesta shows results for Ford and Fiesta

Search Using a Dash to Exclude Words

By placing a dash symbol directly before the second word of a search, your results will show pages that display only the first word and not the second. Entering Bugatti -Veyron will bring up all pages that include the word Bugatti but NOT the word Veyron:

Searching for Bugatti -Veyron shows results for Bugatti only (not Veyron)

Search Using a Vertical Bar for Either or Both

Entering vertical bars or ‘pipe’ symbols ( | ) into your search activates the “Either or Both” search function. 

You can do this by placing the symbol directly before all entered words. Searching for |Ferrari |Lamborghini will provide you with all pages that include EITHER Ferrari or Lamborghini or BOTH of these words.

Searching for |Ferrari |Lamborghini shows results for either or both Ferrari and Lamborghini

Combining Search Functions

Using multiple search functions can refine the searches to a greater degree, narrowing down the desired results. For example, you can combine the standard search with the dash and vertical bar search functions:

Volkswagen |Golf |Polo -Beetle

Pages MUST include VolkswagenEITHER Golf or Polo or BOTHEXCLUDES Beetle

Searching for Volkswagen |Golf |Polo -Beetle will show results for Volkswageneither Golf or Polo, and NOT Beetle

Save Your Searches as Bookmarks

Once you have completed your search and found what you are looking for, you can save the results as bookmarks for future reference. 

When accessing Exact Editions, click the “Bookmark these Results” and they will save for later access.

You can also do this on the “Exactly” app by selecting the “Bookmark All” option, which appears at the top of the Search Results window. This will automatically create a new folder within the Bookmarks tab containing your search results.

Press “Bookmark All” (circled) to save all of your searches

To save individual pages, simply click on the “Actions” button in the top left hand corner of the screen, followed by the Bookmarks Icon. This will bring up a new window entitled “Add Bookmark”, giving you the possibility to assign it a name and save it. Once this is done, your new Bookmark will appear under the Bookmarks tab for speedy access.

Press the “Action” button (circled) to bookmark a single page

The bookmarking function is particularly useful when a very large number of results is returned. By using this function, you can easily check through and refer back to previous research without having to repeat the process.

Fully-Searchable Digital Archives

The Exact Editions publishing platform allows for a flexible, user-friendly and straight-forward experience for exploring digital archives, with a high-quality interface and advanced search tools.

Purchase an individual digital subscription to Autocar’s 6000-issue archive here or request a free institutional trial to Autocar here, as well as a wide range of other digital magazines with growing archives.

If you have any questions about using the search tool in an archive or if you have any feedback about the functions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by sending an email to